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Author: Douglas Keesey

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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Touch/cut
Victoria Best and Martin Crowley

If, as Françoise Audé claims, explicit sex has recently become a prominent feature of auteur cinema ( 2002 : 113–14), then the key figure in this trend is Catherine Breillat, in whose work relations between the sexes are just as morbid and extreme as many of those we have just considered in Chapter 1 . As David Vasse writes, while she might be seen as having anticipated this trend, currently, she is its figurehead ( 2004 : 24). In one sense, this

in The new pornographies
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Douglas Keesey

Introduction The movie trailer for Catherine Breillat’s Romance (1999) advertises the film as ‘choquant, provoquant, sexuel, pervers, troublant, lucide, sincère, sexuel, cruel, érotique, cru, excitant, agressif, tendre, libre, interdit’1 (Wilson 2001: 157). This kind of sensationalistic marketing has expanded Breillat’s viewership, but it has also fed her reputation as being ‘the auteur of porn’, an ‘art-porn provocateur’, a purveyor of ‘arthouse smut’ and ‘French Skinema’. These epithets are ironic given that Breillat has devoted her cinematic career to

in Catherine Breillat
Abstract only
Douglas Keesey

Despentes (Baise-moi, 1994), Marie Darrieussecq (Truismes, 1996), Catherine Cusset (Jouir, 1997), Christine Angot (L’Inceste, 1999), Camille Laurens (Dans ces bras-là, 2000) and Catherine Millet (La Vie sexuelle de Catherine M., 2001). Of course, one should not forget that each of these female authors 2 The Piano Teacher, The Pornographer, Irreversible, My Mother, Secret Things, The Exterminating Angels. 3 In My Skin (2002), Nathalie … (2003), Why (Not) Brazil? (2004). 152 catherine breillat and auteurs has a distinct perspective on sexual experience. For example

in Catherine Breillat
Douglas Keesey

’. 106 catherine breillat the Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF) (Women’s Liberation Movement). Given renewed energy by the revolutionary spirit that swept the country in May 1968, the MLF championed a woman’s right to sexual pleasure without fear of unwanted pregnancy (as in the slogan ‘jouir sans entraves’).3 In 1971, 343 prominent women signed a manifesto declaring that they had had illegal abortions and calling for free access to abortion and contraception. A law granting abortion rights was passed in 1975 and made permanent in 1979, and the 1967 law making

in Catherine Breillat
Douglas Keesey

was published and she received primary screenwriting credit on the film). Despite these tensions, Breillat and Pialat later 78 catherine breillat reconciled, and she has always made a point of acknowledging that, though the original script was largely hers, Police is undoubtedly his film, represented by numerous changes made to the script during shooting and by the fact that he directed it: ‘L’auteur du film pour moi est le seul qui compte. … Maurice a mis dans Police quelque chose que je ne sais pas faire. … toute la partie policière est formidable. … C’est vrai

in Catherine Breillat
Douglas Keesey

glance over her shoulder at Maurice undressing across the room, much as Elena pulls her nightgown up to her eyes and Anaïs peeks through her fingers at the sight of Fernando undressing in the sisters’ shared bedroom. In each of their respective films, both Lili and Elena have occasion to lament, ‘Je peux pas! C’est pas de ma faute!’2 They find it difficult to act on their desires due to a socially induced shame. 2 ‘I can’t! It’s not my fault!’ 44 catherine breillat Another sense in which Anaïs and Elena are different facets of what is essentially the same heroine

in Catherine Breillat
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

’ … ‘women that life, fatality and gravity have mostly destroyed’. Le Soupirail is the novel by Breillat on which she based her screenplay for Une vraie jeune fille. 6 ‘once again dressed like a whore’. 14 catherine breillat enfermer sous clé’7 (Breillat 2006: 13). Contraception did not become legally available in France until 1967, and women were not granted the right to abortion until 1975. Only ‘bad girls’ had premarital sex and got into trouble. ‘Good girls’ or ‘vraies jeunes filles’ were expected to abstain until they were properly wed, with their virginity as

in Catherine Breillat
Explicit sex in recent French fiction and film

This book examines that body of recent French literary and cinematic productions which have been characterised by their reference to, use of, or complicity with the aesthetics, the codes, the tropes or the world of pornography, and which have made a significant cultural impact on the basis of this dimension. It considers the insistent heterosexuality of most contemporary pornographic citation, exploring a range of texts and films, and taking in the female perspective on the male and the male perspective on the female. The book discusses the work of Guillaume Dustan and Erik Remes, whose explicit representations of sexual activity intervene into debates about the place of gay and queer identities in contemporary France, particularly with reference to sexual practice in the light of the AIDS epidemic. The book explores the conflicted sexual space, considering the perspectives of men and women in turn, starting somewhat unconventionally with women's art. It addresses Catherine Breillat's work in terms of its relation to the pornographic. The book also explains that the homophobic dismissal of homosexuality, and its defiant, resistant assertion, sometimes rely on the figure of anality as a kind of shorthand for their arguments about the relationship between desire, productivity, anatomy, futurity, community, and so on. Michel Houellebecq's treatment of questions of gender, most especially the portrayal of women, including the discourses of misogyny and anti-feminism, is discussed. The book also looks at the concept of child pornography, romantic comedy, and the growing impact of independent cinema.