Catherine Breillat

Douglas Keesey
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This book discusses Catherine Breillat's films in thematic groupings. It examines Breillat's relation to some of the most important women in her life, including her mother, her sister, and fellow director Christine Pascal, whom she considered to be a kind of second sister. It explains the impact of a gender-conservative family environment and a strict religious upbringing, and then the countervailing influence of the Women's Liberation Movement on Breillat when she moved from the provinces to Paris. The discussion of Breillat's films connects them to feminist writings as well as to male gender studies. The book also explores the extraordinarily varied cultural context of Breillat's work, including the literature, films, paintings, photos and pop music that have influenced her films. Special attention is devoted to discussion of the complex relation between Breillat's films and patriarchal pornography. The book first considers her three female coming-of-age films including Une vraie jeune fille, 36 fillette and A ma soeur!, with Sex is Comedy, a movie about the making of A ma soeur!. Then, the book examines Breillat's three movies about masculinity in crisis, including Sale comme un ange (with a look at its early avatar, Police), Parfait amour! and Breve traversee. The book also examines Tapage nocturne, Romance and Anatomie de l'enfer, the three films that Breillat has made about the sexual odysseys of adult women. Finally, the book looks at Breillat's relation to and influence on other contemporary directors before turning to a discussion of her latest film, Une vieille maitresse.

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