Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fat Girl

Fat Girl
Original title: À ma soer

Directed by: Catherine Breillat, France / Italy, 2001

Drama, 86min

Distributed by: Criterion Corporation.

Story: Two teenage sisters, Anaïs [Anaïs Reboux] and Elena Pingot [Roxanne Mesquida] spend their summer vacation in a dull seaside town. The older of the two, Elena, meets the mature Italian student Fernando [Libero de Rienzo] whom she lets into the two girls sleeping room at night to indulge in sticky sexual escapades. Anaïs lies in the bed next to them staring in shock and awe as Elena looses all of her adolescent sexuality.

I just can’t see the hype with this movie. I know that Breillat is held high by the elitist film critics, but I honestly can’t come to grasps with this fact. Fat Girl could just as easy have been an Italian or Spanish exploitation flick from the seventies or early eighties. The voyeuristic little Anaïs watching her older sister’s sexual experimentation and persuasive contempt to being raped by her older lover, the non understanding parents, the downbeat ending where Anaïs is violently raped after seeing her family murdered. It’s all elements that have been done and done and done so many times before, but the simple fact that Breillat is cheered on as some kind of genius director just gets on my nerves. I can appreciate what she tries to do with Fat Girl, but it didn’t really impress me. Yes. it is a decent movie, it is effective and it is a disturbing movie, Breillat avoids explicit sexual acts in this movie, but the themes and the way she chooses to portray them are still close to the early exploitation movies. Breillat’s major step into celebrity outside of France, where she already was a provocative celebrity, was with her movie Romance X 1999 where she had actress Caroline Ducey being fucked senseless by porn star Rocco Siffredi and claimed that it was a study of Gender roles, and masculinity. But come on, cast Rocco fucking people and show it graphically on screen and its porn. Call it what ever you want, its still porn, and that’s what gets me irritated. None of the finer movie critics who claim that Breillat is a creative genius would give a second thought about the directors who first experimented with these topics, Jesus Franco, Tinto Brass, Joe D’Amato Torgny Wickman, and Russ Meyer to name but a few. Nope those guys’ movies are looked on as foul, degenerate exploitation movies. It’s the same annoying hype that surrounded Trier’s Idioterna 1998, Virginie Despentes’ Baise-Moi 2000 and Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible 2002. Gritty drama with explicit hardcore sex, and hey, let’s call its art and then honour these “genius” directors are as innovators of the celluloid art, pushing the boundaries of what we can show and not, provoking and taking us to new levels... Honestly let’s just cut the crap, its porn. I’m not taking sides, and I can without any problem appreciate what they are doing, but give it a break. Don’t try to put a new label on it. I’d just as easy watch one of the other guys’ un-pretentious gritty, raw, plump exploitative flicks any day.

1.85:1 aspect ratio,

French Dolby Digital 5.1 or dts with optional English subtitles.

A five minute Behind the scenes making of Fat Girl featurette, two interviews at ten and fifteen minutes each with director Catherine Breillat. The French and the American trailers. One text essay and an interview with Breillat from French magazine Postif.

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