Saturday, March 20, 2010

#259: Fat Girl

(Catherine Briellat, 2001)

I said when I saw A Nos Amours that I wondered what it would have been like if a woman had directed it. Well, Fat Girl might not be the exact result of this experiment, but it's pretty damn close.

Of course, calling Catherine Briellat a woman is like calling Gaspar Noe a man. She has a very specific point of view, and she uses it to provoke almost incessantly. Like Noe, she's an expert filmmaker, but unlike her contemporary, she has a respect for her characters which makes her films transcend their use as an intellectual exercise in abusive cinema.

Fat Girl was both less disturbing and better than I thought it would be. Considering how significant the movement to which it belongs has been in French filmmaking in the past few decades, it should certainly be represented in the Collection, and I think Fat Girl is the best of the genre I have seen, not only because Breillat pulls off the shocking ending with such technical mastery (the scenes on the highway before the women park are almost more terrifying than their subsequent end), but because she infuses her main character with such empathy that it leaves a film like Irreversible in the dust. But I wouldn't call Fat Girl a great movie, or even a film that is necessarily worth watching. It is merely relevant filmmaking, and for that I am glad I saw it, but don't plan on ever seeing it again.

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