Catherine Breillat is a brilliant director, I haven't seen that many of her films but the works I have seen has struck me as incredibly brave and masterful. On top of that, Breillat is always pissing people off with her explicit depictions of sexuality and violence. This month Cinematheque Ontario is doing a retrospective on Breillat's works titled Anatomies of Desire. I'm most likely going to watch Bluebeard and The Last Mistress, which is playing this Thursday and August 9th respectively.

Barbe bleue is a “brilliantly written, exquisitely realized feminist reworking of the cautionary mixed message in Charles Perrault’s fairy tale” (Amy Taubin, Artforum). Narrated by two young sisters huddled away in their attic to read the titular tale, the film unfolds from their imaginations like a stylized seventeenth-century pageant play reminiscent of Demy’s Peau d’âne and Rohmer’s Perceval le Gallois. Naïve and courageous Marie-Christine (Lola Créton and her dancing big brown eyes) is the young, impoverished girl willing to wed the big, bearded brute (Dominique Thomas) in order to save her family from starvation and ruin. Breillat’s touch is in every detail, and her characteristic insights into the psychology of female desire, curiosity, fantasy and sibling rivalry—a curious parallel universe is created between the sisters reading the book and the fairytale sisters separated by marriage—are at the core of the film, yet Barbe Bleue is noticeably devoid of the explicit sex and sex talk that have come to define the director’s reputation. “I can't think of a better image to represent Breillat's cinema en toto than a shot of the massive, shirtless Bluebeard being watched unnoticed by his waif, virgin wife. Brilliant film” (Darren Hughes, Long Pauses).
Top three photos: The Last Mistress, last photo: Bluebeard.

No comments: