The Public Woman

La femme publique
Directed by Andrzej Żuławski
Written by Dominique Garnier
Andrzej Żuławski
Starring Valérie Kaprisky
Francis Huster
Lambert Wilson
Patrick Bauchau
Music by Alain Wisniak
Cinematography Sacha Vierny
Edited by Marie-Sophie Dubus
Distributed by Hachette-Fox
Release dates
  • 16 May 1984 (1984-05-16)
Running time
113 minutes
Country France
Language French

The Public Woman (French: La femme publique) is a 1984 French drama film inspired by Dostoevsky's novel Demons and directed by Andrzej Żuławski, starring Valérie Kaprisky, Lambert Wilson and Francis Huster as the lead actors. The film had a total of 1,302,425 admissions in France where it was the 28th highest grossing film of the year.[1]

Plot summary

An inexperienced young actress is invited to play a role in a film based on Dostoyevsky's novel 'Demons'. The film director, a Czech immigrant in Paris, takes over her life, and in a short time she is unable to draw the line between acting and reality. She winds up playing a real-life role posing as the dead wife of another Czech immigrant, who is manipulated by the filmmaker into committing a political assassination.


César Awards, France, 1985


Montréal World Film Festival 1984

DVD releases

The film had its English-speaking debut on DVD in late 2008, when new label Mondo Vision released the film as its debut title. The disc features a commentary from Andrzej Zulawski and a video interview, where he discusses Polish cinema and the film's production. The film is also available on DVD from LCJ Editions in France, IVC in Japan, and Minerva Pictures in Italy, but lack these extras.



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