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When Violence is an Axe and Romance is Dark: An Interview with Catherine Breillat

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SKU: SOC00023

Content warning: Islamophobic sentiment, rape mention

Article sample:

L'abus de faiblesse. An abuse of weakness? The French filmmaker and novelist, Catherine Breillat, has frequently appeared in the media as a controversial figure due to the explicit and realistic nature of her cinematic treatment of female sexuality, sibling rivalry and violence. A hostile media dubbed her the 'auteur of porn' due to her insistence on un-simulated sex in her films. Her first film, Une Vraie Jeune Fille (A Real Young Lady), based on her fourth novel, Le Soupirail, was produced in I976, but not released into theatres in most countries until 2000. The film's blatant treatment of the hormonal driven actions and, at times, surreal fantasies of an adolescent schoolgirl ensured its absence from commercial cinema screens. In the last couple of years, however, the 62 year-old filmmaker has featured in the media for an entirely different reason—as a victim of the 'star hustler', Christophe Thierry Rocancourt. 

About Senses of Cinema:

Senses of Cinema is an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema. We believe cinema is an art that can take many forms, from the industrially-produced blockbuster to the hand-crafted experimental work; we also aim to encourage awareness of the histories of such diverse forms. As an Australian-based journal, we have a special commitment to the regular, wide-ranging analysis and critique of Australian cinema, past and present. Senses of Cinema is primarily concerned with ideas about particular films or bodies of work, but also with the regimes (ideological, economic and so forth) under which films are produced and viewed, and with the more abstract theoretical and philosophical issues raised by film study.

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