Venice FF

Frederick Wiseman – Un couple #Venezia79

Play Podcast
5 min. and 28 sec.

A monologue on love and relationships, the words of Tolstoj’s wife are so modern and contemporary it almost hurts.

Play Podcast
5 min. and 28 sec.

PODCAST | Angelo Acerbi interviews Frederick Wiseman, director of the film Un couple.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Frederick Wiseman, a giant in documentary filmmaking, comes back for the second time in the fiction world with Un couple, an intense and moving monologue based on the diary of Sophia Tosltoj. Wiseman talks about the choice of the text, the curiosity and admiration for Tolstoj and the work withe actress Nathalie Boutefeu.

Un couple is a film about a long-term relationship between a man and a woman. The man is Leo Tolstoy. The woman is his wife, Sophia. They were married for 36 years, had 13 children nine of whom survived. Each kept a diary. Although they lived together, in the same house, they wrote letters frequently to each other. Leo Tolstoy insisted that they read their diaries aloud to guests at dinner parties. The Tolstoys were also a dysfunctional couple, arguing frequently and being very unhappy with each other while occasionally enjoying passionate moments of reconciliation. The film is Sophia’s monologue about the joys and struggles of their life together, loosely drawn from their letters to each other and their diary entries. The film was shot in a beautiful garden on Belle Île, an island off the coast of Brittany. The visible and subterranean life of the garden is also an important element in the story of Un couple.


  • Reporter
    Angelo Acerbi
  • Guest
    Frederick Wiseman
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
    Un couple
  • Festival section
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