Released films

The Black Book

Le Cahier noir

A film by Valeria Sarmiento

Starring Lou de Laâge, Stanislas Merhar, Niels Schneider, Jenna Thiam

The story of the adventures, in the twilight of the eighteenth century, of a singular couple formed by a little orphan with mysterious origins and his young Italian nurse of a similarly uncertain birth.

They lead us in their wake, from Rome to Paris, from Lisbon to London, from Parma to Venice.

Always followed in the shadows, for obscure reasons, by a suspicious-looking Calabrian and a troubling cardinal, they make us explore the dark intrigues of the Vatican, the pangs of a fatal passion, a gruesome duel, banter at the court of Versailles and the convulsions of the French Revolution.

  • 2018, France / Portugal - Period-drama

Release date

Available in





Portuguese, English, Spanish

Disc features:

16X9 1.78:1 | COLOR | AUDIO: DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 | DVD9





With the participation of








Screenplay Carlos Saboga
Freely based on the novel “Livro Negro de Padre Dinis” by Camilo Castelo Branco
Original music Jorge Arriagada
Cinematography Acácio de Almeida
Sound Carlos Mota, Miguel Martins
Film Editing Luca Alverdi
Art Direction Isabel Branco
Assistant Directors Paulo Mil Homens, António Pinhão Botelho
Executive Production Ana Pinhão Moura
Co-Producer Carlos Bedran

Produced by Paulo Branco
A co-production Leopardo Filmes, Alfama Films Production
In association with CB Partners, APM Produções
And participation of Cine +, RTP, CNC
With the support of Procirep, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa Film Commission

Lou de Laâge - Actress

Born in 1990 in Bordeaux, Lou de Laâge was discovered by the public in 2008. At the age of 18, she made her debut in an episode of “ The little murders of Agatha Christie”.

Selective Filmography:
2011 : 18 years old and Rising by Frédéric Louf
2011 : Nino (the imaginary teen of Nino Ferrer) by Thomas Bardinet
2013 : Jappeloup by Christian Duguay
2013 : People who are kissing by Danièle Thompson
2014 : Breathe by Mélanie Laurent
2015 : The Tournament by Élodie Namer
2015 : The Wait by Piero Messina
2016 : The Innocents by Anne Fontaine

Stanislas Merhar - Actor

Born in 1974, he studied for five years piano at the prestigious École Normale de Musique de Paris.  He then works gilding on wood. He is noticed during a wild casting organized by Anne Fontaine for the need of the film “Dry Cleaning”.

Selective Filmography:
1997 : Dry Cleaning by Anne Fontaine
1999 : The Letter by Manoel de Oliveira :
1999 : Furia by Alexandre Aja
2000 : Franck Spadone by Richard Bean
2000 : The Captive by Chantal Akerman
2000 : Workers of the good lord by Jean-Claude Brisseau
2001 : Nobel by Fabio Carpi
2001 : I cavalieri che fecero l’impresa by Pupi Avati
2002 : Almost Peaceful by Michel Deville
2002 : Thank you Docteur Rey by Andrew Litvack
2003 : Adolphe by Benoît Jacquot
2003 : The Childhood of Catherine by Anne Baudry
2005 : The art of brooking up by Michel Deville
2005 : Code 68 by Jean-Henri Roger
2006 : Like a Black cat at the bottom of a bag by Stéphane Elmadjian
2006 : Müetter by Dominique Lienhard
2006 : The Legacy by Géla Babluani and Temur Babluani
2011 : In town by Valérie Mréjen et Bertrand Schefer
2011 : The art of loving by Emmanuel Mouret
2012 : Almayer’s folly by Chantal Akerman
2014 : Rosenn by Yvan Le Moine
2015 : The Shadow of women by Philippe Garrel
2015 : Left Foot Right Foot by Germinal Roaux
2017 : Madame by Amanda Sthers

Niels Schneider - Actor

Niels was born in 1987 in Paris. His mother was a model and his father an actor and movie director. Niels Schneider arrived in Quebec in 1996. He began nine years later in the profession, starting by dubbing movies and then working on his own on his acting. In parallel, he was taking courses of theatrical interpretation and drama.

Selective filmography:
2007 : The Taste of nothing by Pascal Robitaille
2008 : Everything is perfect by Yves Christian Fournier
2009 : I killed my mother by Xavier Dolan
2009 : Ready, set... party! 2 by Frédéric d’Amours
2010 : Heartbeats by Xavier Dolan
2011 : Hurlements 8 by Joe Nimziki
2012 : The atomic age by Héléna Klotz
2013 : You and the Nights by Yann Gonzalez
2013 : The mess by Étienne Faure
2013 : Opium by Arielle Dombasle
2014 : Gemma Bovery by Anne Fontaine
2014 : Quantum Love by Lisa Azuelos
2014 : La Voz en off by Cristian Jimenez
2015 : The Art Dealer by François Margolin
2016 : Kokoro by Vanja d’Alcantara
2016 : Dark Diamond by Arthur Harari
2016 : Polina by Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj
2016 : Sleeping Beauty by Adolfo Arieta
2017 : Dalida by Lisa Azuelos and Jean Sobieski
2018 : One Nation, One king by Pierre Schoeller
2018 : An impossible love by Catherine Corsini

Jenna Thiam - Actress

Jenna was born in 1990 in a family of artists. Very early, Jenna Thiam is passionate for the theater. After several short films, the young actress finds her first role on television in the first episode of the series Clem, in 2010.

Selective filmography:
2013 : Smart Ass by Kim Chapiron
2014 : We Love you, you bastard by Claude Lelouch
2014 : Next Year by Vania Leturcq
2014 : Wild Life by Cédric Kahn
2015 : Anton Tchekhov -1890 by René Féret
2016 : Daydreams by Caroline Deruas
2017 : A Paris education by Jean-Paul Civeyrac

  • San Sebastián International Film Festival 2018

    Official Competition

  • TIFF - Toronto International Film Festival

    Contemporary World Cinema

  • Waterloo Historical Film Festival


  • Black Canvas Festival de Cine Contemporáneo


Valeria Sarmiento

Valeria Sarmiento

Born in Chile in 1948, Valeria Sarmiento studied Philosophy and Cinema before starting her career as a filmmaker. Exiled in Paris after the 1973 coup, she kept sending political messages to Latin American leaders through her films and documentaries. She is also the privileged collaborator of Raul Ruiz, for whom she edited most of the films, and with whom she lived.

EL HOMBRE CUANDO ES HOMBRE (1981), filmed in Costa Rica, tackles Latin American machismo by its least harmful and most sympathetic sides (romanticism, sentimentality, courtesy), before progressively unveiling the worst aspects of everyday oppression. Popular songs and Mexican mariachis serve as commentary or counterpoint. Both in documentaries and in fiction, Valeria Sarmiento pays attention to dramaturgy and weighs her suggestions carefully. THE PLANET OF CHILDREN (1991), filmed in Cuba, plays on ambiguity to better describe an institution for children which is supposed to encourage professional vocations and leads them towards the end of the Castro era.

Fiction films confirm her attachment to popular culture and her willingness to play with conventions and stereotypes. OUR MARRIAGE (1984), her first feature film, is selected in many festivals and received the Young Director Award in San Sebastian. AMELIA LOPES O’NEILL (1991) was selected at the Berlin Film Festival in 1991 and received the Gan Foundation Award. Filmed in Chile, this film is part of the melodramatic universe of the bolero, and Valeria Sarmiento develops a look at the mentalities and behaviors that persist, beyond transgressions. In her next films, ELLE (1994) and ROSA LA CHINA (2002), she continues to reflect on the couple. The UNKNOWN of STRASBOURG (1998), with a paradoxical aesthetic, will also stand out. In 2012, she takes over from Raùl Ruiz, who dies during the preparation of the film, and directs THE LINES OF WELLINGTON, a great historical fresco and choral film about the Napoleonic debacle in Portugal in 1810.

In 1988, she received an endowment from the Guggenheim Foundation.

In 2008, Stanford University organized a retrospective of her work.

In 2010, she shared with Raùl Ruiz the Art Critics Circle’s Bicentennial Award for Cinema.

News about The Black Book

The Black Book of Father Dinis by Valeria Sarmiento coming soon in DVD

Selected in the official competition at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and at the TIFF – Toronto International Film Festival, Valeria Sarmiento´s last feature will be available on DVD from December 10.


THE BLACK BOOK, latest film by Valeria Sarmiento, will be featured in the Contemporary World Cinema selection at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will be the film's World Premiere.

THE BLACK BOOK by Valeria Sarmiento in Official Competition at San Sebastian

THE BLACK BOOK, latest film by Valeria Sarmiento, will be in competition for the Golden Shell at the International Film Festival of San Sebastián 2018. The Festival will take place between the 21st and 29th of September. The film will be released in France on October the 3rd.

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