Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard

Saw Bluebeard at last night's PIFF showing. It showcased Catherine Breillat as being a excellent cinematographer and director of actors; her shots truly have that painterly quality, and her actors composed themselves beautifully. The girls cast in the roles have a fresh, sweet unDisney prettiness that played to the story beautifully.

But Ms. Breillat is not a good story teller. Her thesis of sibling jealousy and punishment of female curiosity falls flat. After a charming and smartly done first act, the movie starts to crack and fall apart, and is then imploded by the director in the last 10 minutes. The ending was supposed to be ironic; but it felt like a big "F--- you" to the audience.

There were some minor mistakes:

1) The editing loops in a couple of key scenes should have been smoother; Breillat has been at this for a while so to see those scenes badly done was jarring. VERY Strong words to her editor!

2) Her costume mistress and dance instructor needed to be fired. The costumes lacked consistency; I have seen better at a Ren Faire ( and actually, had Ms. Breillat hired Ren Faire people in France, they would have given her a superior level of costuming) and girls makeup should have been better. There is a scene where Lord Blackbeard gives a fete, and the people dance- badly. Any village member, whether the gentry or not, would have danced those country dances well. These actors should had have time to rehearse more.

Strangely enough, even with it's faults, this movie is the most accessible of Breillat's films, and the least cruel. I do hope this gets a good run here in the States and Canada.

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