How Catherine Breillat Challenged Gender Expectations in Modern Cinema | Parts

Depending on your perspective, “Romance” chronicles Marie’s downfall or her liberation. Trapped in a white-clothed prison with a man who won’t touch her, she travels to the erotic imagination of more dangerous sexual encounters. Breillat directs the film with typical coldness; the performances are monotone and full of longing. Among his movies that use unsimulated sex, “Romance” (with its ironic title) places sex as an essential need and a tool for creating identity.

Since her feature debut, “A Real Young Girl” in 1976, Breillat has explored many shades of erotic. Not satisfied with tender, romantic narratives, he pushes his characters to their sexual limits. His approach is not naturalistic and favors a cold distance even in his most intimate films. Sex, graphic in almost any standard, is kept at arm’s length and is always revealed in real time. It’s often awkward and weird in the same way that sex in real life lacks the glossy editorialization of Hollywood.

Abuse of Weakness

In an era where sex in movies seemed to be tested, Breillat’s films pierced the concept of “good sex.” Breillat’s films are wrought with uncertainty, unbridled longing, and chaotic compulsion as they defy easy reading. Although it’s been nearly ten years since his last movie, “Pagabuse sa Kaluya,” the push in his filmography is still surprising. In an era where sex seems to exist more and more as a shadowy absence or as an excess, both are well informed by the nature of capital (Disney films avoid sex to appeal to the widest possible audience, while pornography wants uncomplicated titillation to appeal to the baser. necessary, rather than the philosophical), Breillat asks the simple question, “why do we have sex?”

In his most critically acclaimed film, “Fat Girl,” two sisters are on vacation with their family. The older daughter, Elena (Roxane Mesquida), has model good looks and dreams of a perfect romance. The younger Anaïs (Anaïs Reboux), is less attractive and has no such aspirations. She hopes her “first time” is with a man who doesn’t love her. Throughout the summer, Elena has an affair with an older man, an Italian law student who forces her to have sex. Anaïs’s watches, which were often literally on the other side of the room, were pressed against the wall. It’s a film that doesn’t offer polemics as much as observations about the nature of beauty and desire within a society poisoned by randomness and patriarchal violence.

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