The film by Charles de Meaux, with Fan Bingbing, Melvil Poupaud, Jin Shi-Jye, Wu Yue, Thibault de Montalembert, Féodor Atkin, in book (texts by Philippe Azoury, Anne Dary, Donatien Grau, Élisabeth Lebovici, Brice Pedroletti, Thomas Schlesser), on Blu-Ray and DVD.
This is the story of two people meeting. It's also the story of a portrait, in which immutable Chinese art meets Occidental art. In the middle of the 18th century, the Jesuit, Jean-Denis Attiret, was one of the official painters of China's imperial court. He was given the honourable task of painting the portrait of Empress Ulanara. This former concubine, who became empress following the death of Emperor Qianlong's first wife, had a very particular destiny. Rejected and humiliated by the emperor, she found herself alone and abandoned by all at the end of her life – a sort of precursory romantic figure. Nothing remains of her except her portrait with its Joconde like enigmatic sensuality.
The film recounts the feverish moment when the Chinese empress meets the Jesuit painter, a moment when the electric relationship between the painter and his model is caught up in the constraints of the court and the most extreme cultural differences.