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Blue Beard

Catherine Breillat
Barbe bleue
France 2008 / 80’

The figure of the Blue Beard is one of those elements of the history and tradition of the Western culture that recur transformed in the most bizarre ways. The motif of the revengeful killer of women was addressed by authors (Kurt Vonnegut, Angela Carter, Suniti Namjoshi), playwrights (Dea Loher), freely changed and deformed. It was a subject of many anthropological and feminist analyses (Clarissa Pinkola Estes devoted an entire chapter of Women Who Run With The Wolves to the Blue Beard). There is undoubtedly an irresistible impression that this is one of the most important symbols of coercion of women by men provided by European civilisation. Catherine Breillat refers clearly not only to the text itself, but also to its particular cultural position. The bloody tale by Charles Perrault is adapted by the director astonishingly faithfully and intertwined with a story about two girls reading Perrault's tale. Breillat used it as a framework for a story about a monster, but also for questions about the condition of men and women, the relationships they build and their mutual relations, including sexual relations. The director enhanced the message with the austere form of the film and a bold selection of young actresses.

Joanna Malicka

Catherine Breillat

Born in 1948 in Bressuire, France. Author, screenwriter, actress and, above all, a provoking director. She debuted in the famous Last Tango in Paris (1972). Her directing debut was A Real Young Lady, screened after as many as 23 years. She wrote her first, rebellious novel L'homme facile at the age of 17. She doesn't shun controversial issues (she has shown real sexual intercourse) or subjects which are not obvious. Her films have been screened at the most important film festivals of the world. Her greatest success so far is the Anatomy of Hell, based on her own novel Pornocratie. She is a successful lecturer of film schools all over the world and a professor of the Paris La Fémis.

Selected filmography:

1976 Une vraie jeune fille / A Real Young Lady

1988 36 fillette / Junior Size 36

1991 Sale comme un ange / Dirty Like an Angel

1996 Parfait amour! / Perfect Love

2001 Breve traverse / Brief Crossing

2002 Sex Is Comedy

2004 Anatomie de l'enfer / Anatomy of Hell

2007 Une vieille maîtresse / The Last Mistress

2009 Barbe bleue / Blue Beard