At the end of World War II, black marketer and aspiring writer Violette Leduc (Devos) devours Simone de Beauvoir’s “She came to stay”, and in turn pens the deeply personal “L’Asphyxie”. Beauvoir (Kiberlain) reads it and becomes a champion of Leduc’s work as well as an object of her unrequited love. Published, but still lacking the acclaim she craves, Leduc struggles against poverty as well as the strictures of the literary establishment, exorcising her demons through her raw, urgent work.
Devos gives a tour de force performance as the volatile, emotionally unstable Leduc whose problems lead back to her illegitimate birth and difficult relationship with her mother (Hiegel). Kiberlain also excels as the stiff taskmaster who believes in Leduc and pushes her to uncomfortable extremes. Provost divides the story into six chapters and paints an evocative picture of Leduc’s lifestyle, illuminating her psychoses while capturing the literary monde of post-war Paris. Lyrical and deeply felt, “Violette” introduces us to a writer of profound passions.