Tuesday, 25 September 2007

focus on catherine breillat

ACMI Cinemas is proud to present Focus on Catherine Breillat (Oct 25 - Nov 4, 2007), a retrospective of the work of "seasoned provocatrice"* and French director Catherine Breillat.

The season opens with the Melbourne premiere of Breillat's soon-to-be released film, An Old Mistress. The film is a new period drama starring Asia Argento and had its world premiere in Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2007.

Always controversial and wholly individual, Catherine Breillat has developed a reputation for her challenging and explicit explorations of sex, relationships and gender politics.

"Breillat's work is often discussed in the context of censorship. But it is her relentless plundering of the depths of masochistic desire, and equally systematic annihilation of the myth of romantic love, that best define her art, and have gained her place in the predominantly male enclave of French auteur cinema." The Guardian

Focus on Catherine Breillat will include eight of Breillat's previous films including Romance (1991) (the film that was controversially banned by the OFLC due to its explicit sex scenes - although this was eventually overturned), À ma soeur ! (2001), Anatomy of Hell (2004), as well several lesser known works which are prints imported especially for this season: 36 Fillette (1988), Sex is Comedy (2002), Parfait amour! / Perfect Love (1996), Sale comme un ange / Dirty Like an Angel (1991) and Brève traversée / Brief Crossing (2001).

The opening night film, Une Vieille Maîtresse (An Old Mistress), premiered in competition at Cannes 2007 and stars the darling of the Festival, Asia Argento, and the immensely talented newcomer, Fu'ad Aït Aattou. It marks a new type of film for Catherine Breillat.  Following her series of 10 films concerned with female sexuality (including Romance, A ma soeur! and ending in Anatomy Of Hell), Breillat has made a biting, dramatic period film based upon the 19th century novel of the same name by Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly (1808-89). Beautifully photographed and cast with rich secondary characters, this intimate chamber piece is full of betrayals, confidences and secrets.


On the eve of the wedding of Ryno de Marigny to the virtuous Hermangarde, Ryno's mistress of 10 years, the tempestuous Vellini, refuses to accept that their passionate love affair has come to an end. The film is the story of their affair, as told to Hermangarde's grandmother, the Marquise de Flers, by Ryno, bookended by the events of the days leading up to and immediately after the marriage.

'Tapping into a universal strain of yearning, Cannes competition entry gives arthouse a good name.' Variety

'It was time to come back to the essentials in life: pleasure, romance, and passion. But romance is dark' Catherine Breillat, Cannes Film Festival Program, 2007

*Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily, 2007

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
[email] claire.butler@acmi.net.au  
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