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70 Directors for Venice 70

- CATHERINE BREILLAT
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Biography
Born in Bressuire, France, she is a director, screenwriter and author. She published her first novel, L’Homme facile (1965) at the age of 17; in 1972 she played Mouchette in The Last Tango in Paris by Bernardo Bertolucci. She soon abandoned her career as an actress, dedicating herself to writing screenplays for Maurice Pialat (Police, 1985), Liliana Cavani for La pelle (The Skin, 1981), Federico Fellini for E la nave va (And the Ship Sails On, 1983), and was the assistant editor for Marco Bellocchio in Gli occhi, la bocca (The Eyes, The Mouth, 1982). In 1976 she made her debut as a director with Une vraie jeune fille (A Real Young Girl), an adaptation of her novel, for which she also wrote the score. The recurring theme in Breillat’s cinema is undoubtedly sexuality: explored, denied, sought, suffered, endured. Female sexuality becomes the means for an exploration of self, for the analysis of one’s demons and dark sides; something of a painful psychoanalysis. Breillat’s cinema cries out to the world its stubborn will to be different, as demonstrated by the titles of her filmography which often end in exclamation points, from Parfait amour! (Perfect Love, 1996) to A ma soeur!,(Fat Girl, 2000), the story of Anaïs, a clumsy and bulimic twelve year-old, who has a love-hate relationship with her fifteen-year-old sister Elena, who is sunny and beautiful. The film, which triggered a heated debate, like all the works of this French director, won many prizes at the Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam and Chicago Film Festivals. She participated in the Venice Film Festival for the first time as a screenwriter in 2000 with Selon Matthieu (To Matthieu) by Xavier Beauvois; the following year she presented Brève traverse (Brief Crossing), the story of a disillusioned thirty-year-old who seduces and is seduced by a sixteen year-old, in the Nuovi Territori section. She returned in 2010 with La Belle Endormie (The Sleeping Beauty), an interpretation of the famous fairytale by Charles Perrault, which was presented as the opening film of the Orizzonti section (in 2009 she had previously drawn inspiration from Perrault as she borrowed his tale Bluebeard for her film Barbe Bleue, on the roster at the Berlinale). Her works also include Tapage nocturne (Nocturnal Uproar, 1979), 36 fillette (1987), presented at the Locarno Film Festival, with Jean-Pierre Léaud, Sale comme un ange (Dirty Like an Angel, 1991), Romance (1999) with Rocco Siffredi, Sex Is Comedy (2002), Anatomie de l’enfer (Anatomy of Hell, 2003); Une vieille maitresse (The Last Mistress, 2006), presented in competition at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. She is currently working on a film transposition of her novel Abus de faiblesse.
FILMS PRESENTED IN VENICE:
2000 – Selon Matthieu (To Mathieu) – In competition (screenplay)
2001 - Brève traversée (Brief Crossing) – Nuovi territori (screenplay, director)
2010 – La Belle Endormie (The Sleeping Beauty) – Orizzonti (screenplay, director)

JURIES:
2002 – Controcorrente 2007 – Venezia 64

 



70 Directors for Venice 70