Wednesday, May 3, 2023

French Movie Mercredi: 36 Fillette


36 Fillette. 1988. Directed by Catherine Breillat. Starring Delphine Zentout and Etienne Chicot. 

The title, 36 Fillette, refers to a clothing size that a teen girl might wear. The movie is about Lili, a 14 year old who wants to lose her virginity and thinks she might have sex with Maurice, an older man (I mean if she's 14 that's not saying much) probably in his 30s or so, who is not sure he wants to have sex with her. And she's not really sure either. She meets him while on vacation with her family and it's the second movie I've seen by Breillat about girls on vacation. Something about being away from home, even with your parents in tow, gives a girl ideas.

Lili is petulant and difficult but she's pretty and eager and doesn't really understand the forces she's playing with. Things don't go well between her and Maurice but all seems well in the end.

The movie is pretty explicit as you might imagine. The opening scenes show her talking to a celebrity played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, an actor who starred in what might be the best coming of age movie of all time (or at least the best one made about boys), Les 400 Coups, François Truffaut's 1959 classic. He's mentoring her a little and the casting choice is hilarious. 36 Fillette is not the best coming of age movie made about girls, or even Breillat's best (that for me is Fat Girl) but it's good and worthwhile if you are interested in girls' stories and renderings of adolescent sexuality that are honest and raw.

I'm glad I finally got around to seeing it.


36 Fillette is not available on streaming to my knowledge. I rented a DVD from Netflix.

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