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The Auteurs Daily: NYFF. Bluebeard

The Auteurs Daily


We're going to get this year's New York Film Festival wrapped before Christmas. That's a promise. Today, on the occasion of Glenn Kenny's interview with Catherine Breillat: Bluebeard, which Glenn, at his own Some Came Running, calls "a stone masterpiece, a film Breillat was absolutely born to make."

"Ostensibly an adaptation of Charles Perrault's baroque fairytale, Bluebeard is also a distilled and densely layered exposition on Catherine Breillat's recurring preoccupation with socioeconomic and sexual politics." Acquarello explains.

"[W]hat is surprising about her film version," finds Fernando F Croce in Slant, "is how serene it is, combining austere inquiry with an almost childlike wonder in ways that, as in The Last Mistress, suggest Breillat's search for different vessels for her trademark sexual provocations."

"Austere, but only in the most teasing of ways, Bluebeard refuses to make victims of any of its characters," writes Michael Koresky in Reverse Shot, "yet it also doesn't temper its bloodshed. After one of the story's most intense moments, Breillat immediately cuts to little Catherine jumping up and down on an old mattress exclaiming that Bluebeard makes her laugh. It's a wonderfully reassuring moment, even though her sister, the more naïve and romantic of the two, is not so sanguine. How this parallel story ends is reminiscent of Breillat's Fat Girl, in which the sexual fantasies of the younger spell doom for the older (Breillat, being a younger sister herself, obviously identifies with these observant younger girls). The director seems to be saying that power dynamics, whether between sisters or spouses, are taught and learned at an early age - and there's no more destructive force than jealous love."

"Bluebeard is an odd little film, but I also think it may be a minor gem," finds James Hansen.

Nicolas Rapold talks with Breillat for the L Magazine.

Earlier: Johnny Lavant and, from Berlin, Daniel Kasman.

Updates, 11/2: Michael Koresky talks with Breillat for Criterion's Current.

For Screen, Alexis Grivas reports that Bluebeard has won the best film award at the 22nd Panorama of European Cinema Festival.

NYFF 09: Index; full coverage.


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