The Letter (1999 film)

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The Letter
La Lettre (1999 film).jpg
Directed by Manoel de Oliveira
Written byManoel de Oliveira
Jacques Parsi
Starring Chiara Mastroianni
Release dates
  • 21 May 1999 (1999-05-21)(Cannes)
  • 22 September 1999 (1999-09-22)(France)
Running time
107 minutes
Box office$766,920 [1]

The Letter (French : La Lettre, Portuguese : A Carta) is a 1999 French-Portuguese drama film directed by Manoel de Oliveira. It tells the story of a married woman who has feelings for another man, and who confesses her feelings to her friend, a cloistered nun. The film is loosely based on the 1678 French novel The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette. [2] [3] [4]


The film was entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize. [5]


This adaptation of the novel The Princess of Cleves is about the thwarted love of Catherine of Chartres who, after a disappointment in love, decides to marry a very famous doctor, Jacques de Cleves, without feeling any love for him. As a result, she falls in love with a fashionable singer, Pedro Abrunhosa. Before his death, Catherine's mother tries to separate her from the man she is in love with. After her mother's death, she finds herself torn between her desire to be with this singer and her desire to be faithful to her husband. A religious friend, to whom she confides, tries to help her to sort things out.


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  1. "A Carta (1999)- JPBox-Office". Archived from the original on 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
  2. Stratton, David (1 June 1999). "The Letter". Variety . Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  3. Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "The Letter". Chicago Reader . Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  4. Holden, Stephen (28 September 1999). "FILM FESTIVAL REVIEWS; Just an Old-Fashioned Girl, Pining for Elusive Perfection". The New York Times . Archived from the original on 27 May 2015.
  5. "Festival de Cannes: The Letter". Archived from the original on 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2009-10-06.