Bluebeard View large image

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Film Details

Directed by: Catherine Breillat

Produced: 2009

Countries & Regions: France

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Length: 80 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 23 January 2012

Cat No: NW029

Extras:
Interactive Menu

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Bluebeard

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

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Catherine Breillat directs this highly stylised retelling of the classic fairy tale. The film weaves together two stories, each involving... Read More

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Catherine Breillat directs this highly stylised retelling of the classic fairy tale. The film weaves together two stories, each involving two sisters. In the first, set in the 1950s, Catherine (Marilou Lopes-Benites) torments her older sister Marie-Anne (Lola Giovannetti) with readings of the scary tale of Bluebeard, the ogre who murders women and eats small children. In the second, another pair of sisters - Anne (Daphne Baiwir) and Marie-Catherine (Lola Creton) - are seduced into Bluebeard’s lair, where the beautiful and virginal Marie-Catherine becomes the ogre’s last wife.

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.

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