Directed by: Catherine Breillat
Countries & Regions: France
Length: 80 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 23 January 2012
Cat No: NW029
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Cast: Dominique Thomas , Lola Créton , Daphne Baiwir , Marilou Lopes-Benites , Lola Giovannetti , Farida Khelfa , Isabelle Lapouge , Suzanne Foulquier , Laure Lapeyre , Luc Bailly , Adrien Ledoux , Jacques Triau
Catherine Breillat directs this highly stylised retelling of the classic fairy tale. The film weaves together two stories, each involving... Read More
Once upon a time, Catherine Breillat seemed the great agent provocateur of French cinema, with explicit sex and feminist polemic her key weapons. So her move into fairy tale territory may come as a surprise to some.
But the story of Bluebeard, the infamous wife killer, allows her plenty of scope to develop her themes of gender conflict while immersing the viewer in a glorious never-never land of turreted castles and wild French countryside. Breillat also resurrects her familiar structure of two warring though eternally bonded “sisters”, here the impoverished daughters of a deceased nobleman who fall prey to Bluebeard's advances. But there are two other “sisters”, children reading the story in the 20th century, who provide an amusing commentary on the action with winningly naturalistic performances.
Vilko Filac's cinematography is the real star here, evoking the work of Nestor Almendros, and capturing the natural light of the region exquisitely. But Lola Creton is beautifully poised as Bluebeard's teenage bride, and the whole is a masterful exercise in adaptation, both a faithful reproduction of the tale and of its effect on the reader's imagination.