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Directed by Catherine Breillat

France 2009 78 mins. In French

French provocateur Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl, The Last Mistress, Sleeping Beauty) has built a career out of bringing complex and often controversial depictions of women to the screen, so it is little surprise that she would find ample material in the dark psychological corridors of Bluebeard. Charles Perrault’s pitch-black fairy tale tells the chilling story of the lord of a castle—suspected of murdering a long string of wives—who marries a young woman determined to escape the fate of her predecessors. Breillat cleverly juxtaposes the fable against the parallel story of two young sisters in the 1950’s who secretly read the tale to one another in an attic (based on Breillat’s own memories of sharing Bluebeard—her favorite fairy tale—with her older sister). A story about curiosity, womanhood, and the devastating consequences of forbidden desires, Bluebeard is “direct, complex, and peculiar. It isn’t at all surprising that Ms. Breillat, a singular French filmmaker with strong, often unorthodox views on women and men and sex and power, would have been interested in a troubling tale about the perils of disobedient wives. Ms. Breillat never behaves.”—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times. In French with English subtitles.