The Cinema of Catherine Breillat


In The Cinema of Catherine Breillat, Bélot offers a detailed analysis of Breillat’s past and recent films. Breillat is one of the most internationally renowned French women filmmakers whose notoriety is built on her explicit representation of women’s sexuality. Most of her films rely on a female protagonist’s personal and intimate search of her self, characterised by her sexual journey.
Facing censorship and controversy, Breillat’s films do not easily fit classification and place the viewer into an uncomfortable position. This study looks at Breillat as an independent cinema auteur entertaining a close relation with her films by exploring and positing women, from adolescence to adulthood, as sexual beings reflecting her films’ identity emanating from Breillat’s personal or intimate scenes.
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Biographical Note

Sophie Bélot, Ph.D. (2002), University of Sheffield, is a programme director at the same university. She has published on representations of women in Francophone cinema as well as on film forms (documentary, essay film, adaptations). She is currently working on emotion in cinema.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction : Catherine Breillat’s ‘Scenes-in-Time’
 The Personal as the Intimate
 The Intimate: ‘X’ for Censorship
 The Manuscript’s Structure and Synopsis

1 ‘Le Cinema de Catherine Breillat’
 An Intertextual and Transgressive Cinema: Sex is Comedy and Une Vieille Maîtresse
 The Script of ‘Intimate Scenes’ in Sex is Comedy
 Breillat’s Original Film Adaptation : Une Vieille Maitresse

2 Viewing (Dis)-pleasure
 The ‘Cinematic Spectator’ in Tapage Nocturne

3 The Teen Years in Une vraie jeune fille, 36 fillette, and A ma soeur!
 The Repressive French Society
 Revisiting the Lolita Syndrome
 Real ‘Becomings’/Young Girls

4 A Male Adolescent Sexual Journey
 ‘The Male Crisis’? in Brève traversée

5 Adult Female Sexual Desire
 The Genre Film: Crime Drama in Sale comme un ange and Parfait Amour!
 Empowerment in Masochism: Romance and Anatomie de l’enfer

 Adaptation of Fairy Tales: Reading and Dreaming
 Fairy Tales and Gender Expectations
 Intimacy in Catherine Breillat’s Cinema



This analysis of Breillat’s films will appeal to students and teachers working in European film and Gender studies. It can also attract cinemagoers wishing to develop their interest in a European filmmaker.