Friday, August 07, 2009

MIFF 2009 Day 14 - 6/8/09

  • Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loura (Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl, Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/France/Spain, 2009)
  • La barbe bleue (Bluebeard, Catherine Breillat, France, 2009)
Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl
There's a timelessness to this relatively short (63 minutes) story by the world's oldest working film-maker (100 years old). A man is narrating to a stranger on a train the story of his meeting and breaking-up with the titular girl. It's based on a novel that the director makes a point of crediting. I have no idea how old the novel is, but I sense it could be several decades old. And yet, the story also works well as a contemporary story. At this stage of the festival, I find both the length and the nature of the story quite enjoyable.

I'm not familiar with the story of Bluebeard though apparently this is a fairly faithful retelling by Breillat. The period setting is like a continuation of her previous film, An Old Mistress, though both are completely different films. Bluebeard doesn't have quite the same richness of visuals that An Old Mistress does and the stories are very different.

Breillat superimposes the telling of Bluebeard with another more contemporary story of two sisters, set in the recent past. One of the sisters is called Catherine and I suspect it may be semi-autobiographical.

The film seems a minor work for Breillat. There's some obvious social commentary at the start when the girls are removed from their strict Catholic private school as a result of the death of their father. Other than that, it's pretty much pure story-telling that I found worth-seeing on its own merits as well as being part of Breillat's body of work.

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