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Bluebeard (Barbe Bleue)

Bluebeard (Barbe Bleue)
Film Format: 
Breillat, Catherine
Dominique Thomas
Lola Creton
Daphne Baiwir
Film Reviews: 

Psychologically rich, unobtrusively minimalist, at once admirably straightforward and slyly comic, Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard is a lucid retelling and simultaneous explanation of Charles Perrault's nastiest, most un-Disneyfiable nursery story. This gruesome account of a wealthy serial wife-killer (the most celebrated ogre this side of Shrek) picks up where other fairy tales end. As noted by novelist Alison Lurie, "the real trouble begins after the wedding."..Breillat, who prizes sexual curiosity above all and claims to have loved "Bluebeard" as a child, gives the tale her own spin. The idiosyncratic artist reimagines the perverse bedtime story as one of sibling rivalry, adding a measure of religion and soupçon of class awareness to the mix. Bluebeard opens in a 17th-century convent school, "Kyrie Eleison" trilling on the soundtrack, from which, due to their tuition-paying father's sudden death, two teenaged sisters are expelled. En route home, the newly indigent girls pass Bluebeard's castle: The younger, Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton), expresses interest, while elder sister Anne (Daphné Baiwir) primly notes that "the poor have to work their hides off for the rich."..The sister act has echoes of Breillat's Fat Girl, as rival sibs negotiate their coming-of-age, and Bluebeard's ending is similarly abrupt. Actually, the movie has two punch lines. In one narrative, Breillat flips the original tale's emphasis from the helplessness of women to their resourcefulness; in the other, she invokes the power of fantasy to disrupt your very life.[j Hoberman, Village Voice]

Date Arrival: 
26 January 2012

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