Catherine Breillat (An Old Mistress, Anatomy of Hell) slyly subverts the allure of the popular 17th-century fairytale about a gloomy nobleman with a penchant for murdering his disobedient wives.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2009
France's masterful Catherine Breillat (An Old Mistress, Anatomy of Hell) returns with this playful rumination on the allure of Charles Perrault's 17th-century fairytale about a gloomy nobleman with a penchant for murdering his disobedient wives.
“A characteristically fresh and slyly subversive reading of Perrault's fairy tale. The beauty-and-the-beast-style parable is played out with an impressive but never over-insistent attention to historical detail in terms of costume, customs, architecture and decor, and punctuated by a delightful commentary on its progress and meaning by two young sisters reading the book in the 1950s (the rather more bolshy and bloodthirsty one named, of course, Catherine). A funny, touching, wholly unsentimental study of feminine fear, courage and desire, it proves once and for all that Breillat's brilliance has always lain not in her readiness to be graphically explicit... but in her ideas.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out