Reluctantly, a sulky adolescent returns to her parents' house for yet another boring summer vacation, dabbling in desire and the art of desirability, eventually mixing reality with vision, caged fantasies with the fierce female sexuality.
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Reluctantly, only child Alice Bonnard, a sulky and curious adolescent, returns to her parents' provincial farm house for yet another boring and endless end-of term vacation from boarding school, in the summer of 1963. Sadly, what awaits her there is a farce of a happy family, a strenuous generation gap, lonely outings with her bicycle and an awkward and clumsy transcendental stage between a girl's puberty and a young woman's adolescence. Nevertheless, as if by instinct, Alice the unripe explorer of her budding sexuality, she will find herself infatuated with Jim, a masculine pouting workman in her father's saw mill, dabbling in desire and the art of desirability, self-exploration and autoeroticism as an antidote to boredom. Eventually, young Alice mixing reality with vision, sexual fantasies and the fierce caged female sexuality with every visceral fluid possible, the undefined boundaries of the unfathomable realm of sex become ever so slightly clear, under an immature life's bubbly ... Written by
The movie was filmed in 1975, but was not released to the public until 1999 because of the production company going bankrupt, as well as the controversy surrounding the shots of Charlotte Alexandra's vulva. See more »
The calendar inside the doorway of the Bonnard home indicates that it's August, 1964; however, TV shows pertaining to the death of Monseigneur Fernand Maillet and the resignation of George Pompidou's first government suggest that it's only 1963, and a TV broadcast of Jacques Anquetil's fourth Tour de France victory suggests that at least one scene with the calendar is set on July 14 (Bastille Day), 1963. See more »
You see, if you become a teacher, you'll have the same holidays as now...
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The film has no closing credits. Instead, music plays over a black screen for several minutes. See more »
This the first film by notorious French director Catherine Breillat. It was frequently banned back in its day, but I actually found it a lot less disturbing than some of the same director's subsequent efforts (i.e. "36 Fillete", "To My Sister"). The film focuses on an adolescent girl who comes home from boarding school to her parents' isolated country home. There she entertains herself by mercilessly teasing the local male rustics (and even trying to get a rise out of her own father), narcissistically examining her nude body in the mirror, putting silverware down the front of her knickers, and at one point even "buggering" herself with a spray bottle. She eventually becomes obsessed with a young, married employee of her father's, and after a series of increasing bizarre fantasies, sets about trying to ham-handedly seduce him. But this is definitely NOT your average "coming-of-age" story.
Both the French and English titles suggests that this is a story about a REAL (as opposed to "really") young girl. And although her behavior and fantasies are pretty bizarre and often surreal, the movie does capture some of perverse, morbid nature of adolescence that many "coming of age" movies avoid. There is an obsession with odors. The girl is fascinated with the smell of her own sex and at one point takes off her panties and puts them on the face of a dead and rotting dog (which she perhaps associates with the same smell of decay). There are also bizarre fantasies involving such unusual, but certainly perverse and morbid, sexual props as earthworms and feathers. The sound of buzzing flies is constantly heard on the soundtrack lending to an oppressive morbid atmosphere of death and decay. Obviously, this movie in many ways is not particularly erotic.
In her typical fashion though Breillat has cast a beautiful twenty-something softcore porn actress (Charlotte Alexandra, who also appeared in "Immoral Tales" and "Goodbye, Emanuelle")as the "teenager". This does add some eroticism, but obviously takes away from the realism. It's hard to believe a girl that looks like Alexandra would have difficulty seducing ANYBODY, and she would certainly be surrounded by both male admirers and female friends even in the most godforsaken part of France. Alexandra is surprisingly good in the role, however, and she is fairly convincing as a teenager (at least with her clothes on). At any rate, I'm certainly not going to complain that THIS part wasn't played by an actual fourteen-year-old girl or a less physically attractive actress. It would have made it more "real" I guess, but it also would have been pretty damn hard to watch. As it is, it's a pretty interesting film--a strange mixture of lyrical eroticism and morbid fascination with death and decay.
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