Thursday, October 8, 2009

La barbe bleu [Bluebeard] directed by Catherine Breillat (2009)

Earlier this week, I saw this small item listed on the New Statesman website for the London Film Festival.

Bluebeard (dir: Catherine Breillat)

Famously retold by Angela Carter in her story collection The Bloody Chamber, this fairy-tale gets a low-budget treatment from the provocative Breillat.

I saved it and decided to research further when I had more time. Then a great review showed up in the news for today at Bluebeard: 'A Minor Masterpiece' by Howard Schumann. He explains the plot and gives a glowing review. Here's part of his plot summary:

The film operates on parallel levels, both involving two sisters. In the first story, two young sisters play in the attic of their home in France in the present. Catherine, who according to Breillat's autobiographical material, represents the director, plays power games with her older but more withdrawn sister Marie-Anne by tormenting her with readings of the classic horror story "Bluebeard."

The review is much longer, so click on through to read more. I am impressed with the photography considering this was classed as low budget.

You can of course read more about it at IMDB, too. The viewer ratings aren't as glowing, but they are pretty high for IMDB ratings. (It's all relative with this stuff.)

It's refreshing to see this tale get a new treatment. It's so often avoided in film these days and not well-recognized by the general public. The average person on the street always confuses him with Blackbeard and wants to talk about pirates with me. :) Not that this is a high profile film, but anything is a boon. Older literature implies everyone used to understand Bluebeard as a stereotype, but not so anymore.

Hopefully this one will make it to DVD stateside someday...

And if you want to refresh your memory and read the original again, try The Annotated Bluebeard (the one that started SurLaLune).

Edit: I added more about U.S. screenings and releases in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Ah! This is being shown at the international film festival where I live; it's a relief to know that you already know of the film – more than I do, even – to save me telling you about it. But it also reminds me to ask whether you also know of this Russian film?

    The Hoffmann one, Gofmaniada, and Ugly Duckling adaptation may be on interest to you as well.