Wednesday, July 27, 2022

French Movie Mercredi: Bluebeard (2009)



Catherine Breillat's 2009 film Barbe Bleue is definitely one for the grownups.

She tells the story of the Charles Perrault's Bluebeard through the eyes of two pairs of sisters, Marie-Anne and Catherine, and Marie-Catherine and Anne. 

The first pair are little girls and Catherine, the young girl, tells the story to her older sister Marie-Anne, who is terrified by it. Marie-Catherine and Anne are the girls in the story; they hear about Lord Barbe Bleue through local gossip and are appalled that someone rumored to have killed his wives has escaped justice. The girls return home from school to find out their father has died and the family has become impoverished, so one of them has to get married and the younger girl, Marie-Catherine, is selected to become Barbe-Bleue's bride.

The movie felt moody and felt slow-moving to me, very suspenseful as we await the fate of the young Marie-Catherine. She plays her role in the fairy tale to a point and then Breillat reminds us that even the young and innocent have agency and the power to change how their stories end.  Marie-Catherine is played by actress Lola Créton with a combination of wide-eyed wonder and steely resolve; this is a young lady who knows what she wants.

I do like Breillat's movies for the willfulness of her heroines and the way she portrays her women and girls as taking charge of their lives and their sexuality. She has a reputation for being "edgy" which I think has to do with the frank way she depicts womens' sexuality and women trying to control their own desires rather than being controlled by those of others. Definitely not a "Sunday morning movie" but worth your time for sure.

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