Review: Bluebeard DVD

STUDIO: Strand Releasing | DIRECTOR: Catherine Breillat | CAST: Dominique Thomas, Lola Creton, Daphne Baiwir, Marilou Lopes-Benites
RELEASE DATE: 6/22/2010 | PRICE: DVD $27.99
SPECS: NR | 82 min. | Foreign language fantasy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital stereo | French with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Filmmaker Catherine Breillat (Romance, Fat Girl) fashions an imaginative adaptation of the famous 1697 fairy tale by Charles Perrault in Bluebeard. The film is not for children, but rather for the many adults who have meditated on just how grisly children’s “cautionary” tales” really are.

The original story warns children against the perils of being too curious. Breillat’s movie frames the tale with sequences in which a little girl torments her sister by reciting the story in much detail. Both the frame and the fairy tale have abrupt endings that call viewers’ attention to how oddly Freudian the whole affair has been.

Breillat’s matter-of-fact staging of the fantasy as well as the more “realistic” frame device is laudable, and the film’s short running time makes the sudden endings doubly affective.

The often controversial Breillat’s name is the main selling point here for arthouse fans, although the “creepy fairytale” aspect will make the film have a long shelf life, as was the case with Neil Jordan’s sexy The Company of Wolves.

The DVD doesn’t have any special features.


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About Ed

Ed Grant has written about film for a wide range of periodicals, books and websites. He edited the reference book The Motion Picture Guide Annual and, since 1993, has produced and hosted the weekly cable program Media Funhouse, which Time magazine called “the most eclectic and useful movie show on TV.”