HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Bluebeard Even murderous misogynists have a sensitive sideBuy this film here.
Year: 2009
Director: Catherine Breillat
Stars: Dominique Thomas, Lola Créton, Daphné Baiwir, Marilou Lopes-Benites, Lola Giovannetti, Farida Khelfa, Isabelle Lapouge, Suzanne Foulquier, Laure Lapeyre, Luc Bailly, Adrien Ledoux
Genre: Drama, Romance, Weirdo, Fantasy
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Two little girls playing in an attic, prim Marie-Anne (Lola Giovannetti) and her precocious kid sister Catherine (Marilou Lopes-Benites) recount the classic fairytale of Bluebeard. In the story, two similarly-named teenage siblings, rebellious Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton) and her demure, older sister Anne (Daphné Baiwir) are cruelly expelled from a convent shortly after discovering their father has died. Returning home they face mounting debts and a forced to sell almost all their possessions. Anne longs to marry into wealth but when a proposal arrives from fearsome local lord, Bluebeard (Dominique Thomas), who is rumoured to have killed his many previous wives, she is repulsed. Instead, Marie-Catherine attracts Bluebeard’s eye and appears genuinely smitten with the sad, lonely, older man. They marry and an unlikely, though chaste romance ensues. One day Bluebeard leaves his castle on business, entrusting the keys to his chambers to Marie-Catherine, on the promise she will not enter his forbidden room. Inevitably, curiosity gets the better of her...

Contemplating the sexual allure of danger, violence and death, Charles Perrault’s dark fairytale has been a cinematic staple going all the way back to Georges Méliès and his silent short Barbe Bleue (1902). Over the years the story has resurfaced in either overt adaptations like Edgar G. Ulmer’s cult favourite Bluebeard (1944) and the star-studded disaster that was Edward Dmytryk’s Bluebeard (1972) or thinly veiled reinterpretations such as Fritz Lang’s Secret Beyond the Door (1948). Aside from Méliès, some other notable French filmmakers tackled the tale including historical swashbuckler specialist Christian-Jacque in 1951 and Nouvelle Vague auteur Claude Chabrol with Landru (1963).

Here, the divisive Catherine Breillat delivers her own, typically idiosyncratic, take on the familiar story, cross-cutting between two narratives. On the one hand, a somewhat gloomy, austere yet emotionally resonant adaptation of the fairytale itself, intercut with a semi-autobiographical framing story that treads into rather troubling waters given the climactic fate of one sibling. Although somewhat awkwardly integrated into the main story, given Breillat cross-cuts between both narratives for some time before establishing that Catherine and Marie-Anne are actually reading the Bluebeard story, the framing device is not without its charms. As the two girls continue to debate the messages inherent in Perrault’s text, much amusement arises from little Catherine’s precocious musings including a semi-improvised sequence where she insists “homosexuality” is the correct term for when a man and woman are in love!

Despite Breillat’s past output of confrontational, some would say scandal-mongering, art-porn fare including Romance (1999) and À Ma Soeur! (2001), she surprisingly downplays the sexual undertones and reinterprets the story as a tragic romance. As portrayed by Dominique Thomas, Bluebeard is a complex character, reflecting the ambiguities inherent in his historical inspiration: the mass murderer Gilles De Rais, who was conversely a close friend of Joan of Arc. He is a self-confessed monster yet equally melancholy, wounded, world-weary and sincere. His attitude towards Catherine is largely paternal and kindly while the fourteen year old heroine exerts some control over their relationship, denying him sex and politely demanding her own room until she comes of age. However, Breillat’s reading remains psychologically shallow with no attempt to rationalise the title character’s homicidal impulses. The film is riddled with inconsistencies and the underlining tension between Marie-Catherine and her sister Anne goes unresolved, a misstep given the latter’s role in instigating the climax. And yet aspects of the film do engage and Breillat draws some exceptional performances particularly from her quartet of young leads.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1755 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: