301 Great Directors: Catherine Breillat

“I am eternally, devastatingly romantic, and I thought people would see it because ‘romantic’ doesn’t mean ‘sugary.’ It’s dark and tormented — the furor of passion, the despair of an idealism that you can’t attain.”

Why This Director?
: She’s fascinating just by reputation.

My Last Experience Was…: None.

What Did I Watch: Fat Girl and Anatomy of Hell.

Where Does She Fit: Shortly after watching Fat Girl, I wondered to myself why I had given Twentynine Palms, a film directed by a male that reaches awfully similar conclusions to what we’re about to discuss via similar means, the full five stars on Letterboxd while Fat Girl, directed by a woman, only received 4.5. Both are about the state of gender relations, and neither one makes it easy. Frankly, they’d make a great double bill and I love both, so I suppose it comes down to a mix of auteurism (Dumont’s lensing is pretty handily the winner if we must pin them against each other) and my own personal thoughts on relationships versus fucking. Still, they each feature men who are utter brutes, women trying to calmly cope with a world that is fucking horrible to them, and impeccable formalism while on vacation. Body image is only a small part of the mesh that Breillat is sewing together, and everything is loaded, particularly that horrifying finale and defiant final shot.


I knew Anatomy of Hell was going to be a struggle based off its reputation and the opening shot of an unsimulated gay blowjob followed by a woman cutting her wrist in the club, but everything afterwards is just…why? This is an extreme take on a provocative, worthy thesis (“gay men are misogynistic”), but why do we need to watch a woman serve up her period blood as a drink, or do all the other shit involving a whole lot of staring into vaginas and at the male porn star’s dick? I’m already tired of discussing this movie and I wish I hadn’t tested myself with this nonsense even if it’s undoubtedly the sort of thing that deserves props for being brave and outre. Moving on…


Most Valuable Asset: Rage.
Most Excited For: Last Mistress/Brief Crossing/Abuse of Weakness.

Coming Up Next: King of trash and carsickness, John Waters.


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