Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, born in 1873, lived a life of scandal and unabashed individuality. Much of the esteemed writer and Nobel Prize nominees’ work centered around women paving their own way in a man’s world, a theme reflected in much of Colette’s own life. Today we honor her life and legacy by watching her work come alive on the big screen.
Claudine at School (1937)
This comedy film is based on the novel, Claudine at School, of the same name published in 1900. It follows the story of Claudine, a mischievous 15-year-old girl in her last year of secondary school, and all the trouble she causes for her headmistress. If you’re craving something lighthearted and have a couple of hours to spare, this charming coming-of-age story is the perfect pick.
The Game of Love (1954)
This dramatic romance is an on-screen adaptation of Colette’s novel Green Wheat (1923). Childhood best friends Philippe and Vinca spend every summer together. This particular summer though, their relationship changes from ‘friends’ to ‘friends with benefits. This film follows the two teenagers as they try to make sense of both their new relationship and the reality that they are growing up. A friends-to-lovers arc and a love triangle? Sign me up.
This film is an adaptation of Colette’s most famous work, Gigi (1944). The film is a dramatic comedy about a woman in Paris being trained as a courtesan by her grandmother and great-aunt. They enlist Gaston, a wealthy young man, to help Gigi kickstart her career. The two develop a platonic friendship that eventually becomes something more. If you love musicals and unconventional romances, this movie is a must-watch.
This film is not based on any novel by Colette, but on the author herself’s life. Starring period drama queen Keira Knightley, the story focuses on Colette’s decision to start writing. Her work is penned under her husband’s name, and when she publishes her first novel Claudine at School he rises to stardom. Witnessing this, Colette decides she wants the world to know who she really is. Netflix’s drama shows Colette challenging gender norms and claiming what’s hers.
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