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Bluebeard (2009)

Barbe bleue (original title)
Not Rated | | Fantasy | 1 April 2010 (South Korea)
Trailer
1:53 | Trailer
An adaptation of the classic tale of a wealthy aristocrat with a blue beard.

Director:

Catherine Breillat

Writers:

Charles Perrault (fairy tale "La Barbe bleue"), Catherine Breillat (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dominique Thomas ... Barbe Bleue / Bluebeard
Lola Créton ... Marie-Catherine
Daphné Baiwir ... Anne
Marilou Lopes-Benites Marilou Lopes-Benites ... Catherine
Lola Giovannetti Lola Giovannetti ... Marie-Anne
Farida Khelfa Farida Khelfa ... La mère supérieure
Isabelle Lapouge Isabelle Lapouge ... La mère
Suzanne Foulquier Suzanne Foulquier ... Soeur Barbe
Laure Lapeyre Laure Lapeyre ... Ida
Luc Bailly Luc Bailly ... Le minot
Adrien Ledoux Adrien Ledoux ... L'émissaire de Barbe Bleue
Jacques Triau Jacques Triau ... L'évêque
Jean Bourlot Jean Bourlot ... Le cocher
Rose-Line Fric Rose-Line Fric ... La couturière
Christian Urbain Christian Urbain ... Le créancier
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Storyline

In France in the mid-'50s, Catherine (Marilou Lopes-Benites) enjoys toying with her older sister, Marie-Anne (Lola Giovannetti), by reading her the story of the murderous and oft-married Bluebeard, embellishing the story with plenty of gore and scaring the girl out of her wits. As Catherine rereads the story, we're taken back to the year 1697, as Lord Bluebeard (Dominique Thomas) prepares to make Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton) his seventh wife. Marie-Catherine's youth and innocence make her an especially attractive quarry to Bluebeard, and rather than murder her right away, he decides to wait a while in order to savor the terrible joy of claiming her life. However, as Bluebeard becomes caught in a cycle of events that keep him from following through on his wife's murder, the two slowly become something like a normal couple and Marie-Catherine begins to turn the tables on her spouse.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Bluebeard (1901) See more »

User Reviews

 
Full of terror and untold beauty
4 October 2009 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Infused with a sumptuous elegance, Catherine Breillat's eerie retelling of the Charles Perrault fairytale Bluebeard is very sensual and highly stylized while adhering to an almost literary interpretation of the story. Shown at the Vancouver Film Festival, the film operates on parallel levels, both involving two sisters. In the first story, two young sisters play in the attic of their home in France in the present time. Catherine, who according to Breillat's autobiographical material, represents the director, plays power games with her older but more withdrawn sister Marie-Anne by tormenting her with readings of the classic horror story "Bluebeard".

While young Catherine is reading the story, the drama plays out on the screen in a setting that looks like the 16th century. Another pair of sisters Anne (Daphne Baiwir) and Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton) (note the similarity in names) receive sad news at a convent from a coldly unfeeling Mother Superior that their father was killed while trying to save a little girl. Without means to continue at their private school, the girls are unceremoniously thrown out. On the way home, they pass Bluebeard's Castle and comment on the local aristocrat who, rumor has it, married many wives who strangely disappeared.

It is not long until the corpulent Bluebeard (Dominique Thomas) begins to court the young and attractive Marie-Catherine. Without money for a dowry, Marie-Catherine, undaunted by the whispers, agrees to marry the wealthy Bluebeard. The film then moves back and forth between the two stories, with the younger girls' reading and commenting on the fairytale providing comic relief for the heavy drama of male power and female sexual awareness unfolding at the castle. Marie-Catherine seems to have charmed Bluebeard who appears loving but whose intimidating frame towers over the slender virgin.

Marie has, however, cannily set things up in her favor. She has chosen for herself a room so small that the hefty Bluebeard cannot enter but she can tiptoe down the hall and peek into the room where he is getting undressed. When he goes away on an unspecified trip, Marie-Catherine invites her sister Anne to the house and they have much fun but Marie is sad until her new husband returns home one month later. Before leaving on his second trip, however, he gives his wife a key to a mysterious room in the cellar with the impossible instruction not to open the door. Frightened of disobeying her husband but tantalized by the secret, Marie-Catherine unlocks the mystery chamber only to be confronted by her worst fears and the story plays out in Breillat's provocative and unpredictable fashion.

Bluebeard's setting immerses the audience in a world that is far removed from today's realities, yet teenage newcomer Lola Créton gives Marie-Catherine a playful confidence and pride to go along with her natural purity and innocence in a way that speaks to today's feminist sensibilities. Going backwards and forwards in time also highlights the universal qualities inherent in the Gothic fairy tales that, even when they are decidedly dark as in this case, have a lot to teach us about confronting our fears, lessons often hidden by the pandering of Walt Disney animation. Resonant with wit and sexual tension, Catherine Breillat has, in Bluebeard reestablished the reality of the world of children both full of terror and untold beauty and, in the process, has created a minor masterpiece.


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Details

Official Sites:

Flach film [France]

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

1 April 2010 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Bluebeard See more »

Filming Locations:

Limousin, France

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,370, 28 March 2010

Gross USA:

$33,490

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,696
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Flach Film, CB Films, ARTE See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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