In my quest to become familiar with more foreign filmmakers, especially women, I thought Catherine Breillat’s rendering of the Blue Beard fairy tale would be a good fit. Plus it’s only 80 minutes long so I could easily squeeze it in before work. Set as a frame story, the film spotlights two young sisters hanging out in an attic in what appears to be the 1950s. They read from the story of Blue Beard and add embellishments and commentary periodically. The book’s tale concerns two similar sisters, though in their teens, who are poverty-stricken after their father’s death.
They must marry for money, and are considered by local nobleman Blue Beard (Dominique Thomas) as potential mates. He chooses the younger sister Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton) for his wife, as she doesn’t look at him as an ugly monster suspected of killing his previous wives, but rather as a gentle, shy older man. The two live contentedly for a while in his castle, with Marie-Catherine pleased to finally be given preference over her older sister Anne (Daphné Baiwir). But she suspects a dark secret when he leaves her alone for a business trip.
Hmm not too much to say about this one, I don’t think. It’s a slow-paced, sparse telling of a pretty simple story, with some gender and sisterly politics thrown in for a more contemporary flair. There are lush landscapes and gorgeous costumes seemingly culled from a few eras. The leading ladies are good at having wide eyes and pale skin, and Dominique Thomas is appropriately gruff. The final shot is exquisite.
There just isn’t much to this movie. I didn’t love it or hate it, finding it diverting enough for its visuals, likable main character (she’s feisty), and easygoing child actors, but too ambiguous and minimal to really enjoy. I think that’s all I have to say? Damn. Most boring review ever, sorry.
Pair This Movie With: Oh jeez. More women-centric European period pieces I guess. Ever After? Shakespeare in Love?