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This is rather a sensationalised and eroticized rendition of filmmaking loosely based on facts.
Although well acted, well filmed and very intriguing throughout, it nonetheless did not treat the subject material in a way that fully depicted what countless many young women of the day endured: early sexual abuse and it's life-harming effects.
One of the factual details that is notably absent from Winocour's film is the sexual assaults the young Augustine suffered at the hands of an employer with whom she was placed by her mother at age thirteen. The details of her rape do not get mentioned and neither does her trauma,or the information that the attacks began soon after.
From the symptoms of her 'illness,' in this film, the causes or triggers for Augustine's episodes often feature in scenes of animal cruelty. The film does not treat her history of sexual abuse and it has Augustine enter the Salpêtrière at age nineteen, while, in fact, she was fourteen when she began her stay. Very much younger. Still a child.
If the filmmaker had stuck to a factual rendition of how so many girls were sold or traded or sent off to work in situations where they were never protected, never able to protect themselves and where the theme of the day in most of Europe was early sexual abuse of horrific proportions, there may have been a film that explained how generationally women have been exploited, manhandled, marginalised and mistreated almost as point of course.
A hugely wasted opportunity to make an important film.
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