Bel Ami

2012, 102 minutes

A chronicle of a young man's rise to power in Paris via his manipulation of the city's most influential and wealthy women

The story written by Guy De Maupassant chronicles Georges Duroy's corrupt rise to power from a poor ex-NCO to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy mistresses. The novel is set in Paris in the upper-middle class environment of the leading journalists of the newspaper La Vie Française and their friends. It tells the story of Georges Duroy, who has spent three years of military service in Algeria. After six months working as clerk in Paris, an encounter with his former comrade, Forestier, enables him to start a career as a journalist. From a reporter of minor events and soft news, he gradually climbs his way up to chief editor. Duroy initially owes his success to Forestier’s wife who helps him write his first articles and, when he later starts writing lead articles, she adds an edge and poignancy to them. At the same time, she uses her connections among leading politicians to provide him with behind the scenes information which allows him to become actively involved in politics. Duroy is also introduced to many politicians in Mme Forestier’s drawing-room. Duroy becomes the lover of Forestiers' friend Mme de Marelle, another influential woman. Duroy later tries to seduce Madeleine Forestier to get even with her husband, but she repulses Duroy’s sexual advances and offers that they become true friends without ulterior motives instead. In a few months, Charles Forestier’s health deteriorates and he travels to the south of France to regain his health. Soon afterwards, Duroy receives a letter from Madeleine imploring him to come to join her and help her bear the last moments of her husband’s life. As Forestier dies, Duroy asks Madeleine to marry him. After a few weeks to consider, she agrees. Georges now signs his articles Du Roy in order to add prestige to his name. The married couple travel to Normandy, the region of Georges’s childhood, and meet his peasant parents. Finding the reality different than her romantic expectations, Madeleine feels very uncomfortable with his parents and so their stay with them is short. In the newspaper office, Duroy is ridiculed for having his articles written by his wife, just as the late Forestier had his articles written by her. His newspaper colleagues call him ‘Forestier’, which drives Georges mad and he suddenly becomes heavily jealous of Madeleine, insisting that she admit having been unfaithful to Forestier. However, she never admits that. In order to suppress the stings of jealousy, Duroy starts an affair with Mme Walter, the wife of the owner of the newspaper. He especially enjoys the conquest as he is her first extramarital lover. Later on, he regrets the decision however, for he cannot get rid of her when he does not want her. Du Roy’s relations with his wife gets chillier and chillier and in Chapter Eight of Part Two he takes a police superintendent to come with him to a flat in which his wife is meeting a minister. They catch the two in the act of adultery, which was then a crime punishable by law. In the last two chapters Du Roy’s ascent to power is further continued. Du Roy, now a single man, makes use of Susanne Walter's, his chief’s daughter’s, infatuation with him, and arranges an elopement with her. The parents then have no other choice but to grant their assent to the marriage. The last chapter shows Du Roy savouring his success at the wedding ceremony at which 'all those who figured prominently in society' were present. His thoughts, however, chiefly belong to Mme de Marelle who, when wishing him all the best, indicates that she has forgiven him for his new marriage and that their intimate meetings can be taken up again.


Companies involved in this production


Connected mandy members:

Christos Lawton
Journalist
Heather Lauren
Dancer
Adam Newsome
Adam Newsome
Actor
Journalist
Jo Bispham
Jo Bispham
Dancer
Polka Dancer
Amy Meakin
Amy Meakin
Production Co-ordinator (Junior)
Graphics Assistant
Jo Bispham
Jo Bispham
Actor
Polka Dancer
Harriet Kendall
Harriet Kendall
Costume Assistant
Costume Daily
Michael Allmond
client in brothel
Kinvara Jenkins
Girl at the ball
Rachael Swann
Ballroom Guest
Claire Cordier
Dancer
Rosalina Lionetti
Courtesan

Alternative Names

Bel_Ami_(2012_film)