To be blunt, I’m not sure Catherine Breillat cares what I think about her movies. In fact, I’m sure she cares about what I don’t think about her movies. Actually, I suspect she thinks I don’t think at all. Because I am a man.
That’s the impression I get, anyway, from some of the movies by her that most impress me. Take Anatomy of Hell, which is about a woman who invites a gay man to her beige-and-cream open-air chateau and invites him to look at her nakedness, daring him to tell her she’s useless as a sexual creature.
And somehow I can’t get enough of the movie. It’s perhaps the purest exercise in bad faith I’ve seen committed to film.
Her new movie, The Sleeping Beauty, doesn’t attack the male principle quite so gothically or academically. Instead, this one seems a subtler primer in the fine art of male bashing. And I do mean that as a compliment.
Following in the footsteps of Breillat’s Bluebeard, Beauty retells the famous fairy tale as a crypto-modern day fable in which a girl condemned to sleep through 100 years spends the entire time dreaming about the older boy who left her behind.
When she awakens, she finds him or someone resembling him. Though he’s grown into an incredibly hot young man, she finds herself unable to reinstate the magic of her dream version.
Breillat’s vision may be deliberately softer in this iteration, but make no mistake, she’s no sucker for men with pillowy lips. She’ll just continue casting them. And debasing them. And I’ll keep watching. (Theater 5, 5:30 p.m.)
All shows are playing at the St. Anthony Main Theatre. For the complete festival schedule, click here. An alphabetical listing of all the movies being shown can be found here. Ticket information is here.