100 minutes




Synopsis: Gabriel Aghion directs this bawdy period romp about a day in the life of 18th century philosopher and sensualist Denis Diderot (Vincent Perez), who produced the first ever encyclopedia while living a life of delicious decadence. Though the Church immediately banned Diderot's opus, which they deemed to be a compendium of forbidden knowledge, copies continued to circulate. Diderot, along with his wife (Francoise Lepine) and daughter, are staying in the country estate of the Baron and Baroness d'Holbach -- who put a pair of illegal printing presses and a legion of typesetters in a chamber beneath the family altar. At the same time that the Church sends a grumpy Cardinal (Michel Serrault) to ferret out the clandestine press, comely Madame Therbouche (Fanny Ardant) shows up to paint Diderot's portrait. While Diderot occupies himself with his artist friend, the Baroness keeps the Cardinal occupied with her laundry list of sordid confessions. Naughty fun soon ensues.


Production Photos:

Filmed in Paris, Le Libertin began production on July 19, 1999 through the efforts of Bel Ombre Films and Mosca Films and was produced by Gaspard de Chavagnac.

For more production info, read this article.



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What attracted to me to Diderot is his visionary spirit. In my immersion in his work, I discovered a bulimic thinker, a sort of explorer of thought. But careful, this is not a historic reconstitution of his life."



Vincent Perez.....Denis Diderot
Fanny Ardant.....Madame Therbouche
Josiane Balasko.....Baronne d'Holbach
Michel Serrault.....Le Cardinal
Arielle Dombasle.....Madame de Jerfeuil


Directed by.....Gabriel Aghion
Screenplay by Gabriel Aghion
Based on the play Le Libertin by Eric-Emmanual Schmitt
Cinematography by.....Jean-Marie Dreujou
Music by.....Bruno Coulais


Premiered in France:  March 15, 2000


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