Sophie Belot

In French cinema, representations of girls have often been associated with films made by women, as demonstrated by Carrie Tarr with Brigitte Rollet (2001). They claim that the young girl is the major cinematographic topic for a woman’s first film, and names, such as Céline Sciamma in the late 2000s, Diane Kurys and Catherine Breillat in the 1970s, substantiate this position. However, Breillat’s A Real Young Girl was different, as it attracted critics’ acerbic reception and was subsequently banned for its open depiction of a young girl’s sexual experiences. It is argued that Breillat’s images of the young girl’s sexual initiation in the 1970s brings to the fore the significance of the idea of authenticity in relation to sex and cinema. Examining the representation of the ‘real young girl’ highlights the ideas of reflexivity and creativity attached to the existentialist notion of authenticity. This article aims to show that the young girl stands as a metaphor for Breillat’s auteurist approach to challenging existing filmic conventions.

Film Studies
Douglas Keesey

1 Female virgins and the shaming gaze Une vraie jeune fille (A Real Young Girl) Given Breillat’s efforts over the years to distance her work from mere pornography, there is some irony in the fact that her first directing opportunity was partly owing to the popularity of pornographic films. After the abolition of censorship in 1974 and the box-office success of Emmanuelle, the tide of pornographic films rose in France, amounting to almost half of all French film production in 1974 and 1975. In line with this trend, producer André Génovès offered Breillat the

in Catherine Breillat
Guy Austin

on explicit adult experience, to return to the subject of Breillat’s earlier films Une vraie jeune fille ( A Real Young Girl , 1976) and 36 fillette ( Virgin , 1988), namely adolescent sexual desires and anxieties. The film follows two sisters on holiday with their distant and cold parents. The elder sister, fifteen-year-old Elena (Roxane Mesquida), is slim with pale skin and long dark hair: she is the epitome of

in Contemporary French cinema