Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catherine Breillat Is a Great Director!

...And I'm not just being a preening sycophant here. Catherine Breillat is one of ten directors featured in a 2009 documentary entitled Great Directors, which was just released on DVD here in the US. The other directors are: Bernardo Bertolucci, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Todd Haynes, Richard Linklater, Ken Loach, David Lynch, John Sayles and Agnès Varda.

It's an interesting film... At first, each filmmaker talks for a few minutes about how their careers got started (interspersed with clips)... Breillat gets a bonus appearance in that part, because in addition to telling her own story, she comments on Agnès Varda's story. hehe As this is the Breillat blog, I feel I have to point these bits out. Anyway, then we circle back around, and each filmmaker talks about how their careers advanced, and then a third time to delve more into their artistic struggles. It's actually quite effective.

By the way, I've read criticisms (including literally every single review on Netflix as of this writing) that this film is really a self-indulgent project of its own director, Angela Ismailos, who turns what should be a film about these directors into a film about herself. But I honestly don't see it. We learn nothing about Ismailos other than that she admires these filmmakers, and there's really nothing here that isn't entirely about the 10 directors' careers. I don't know if perhaps a different cut was released theatrically, and that's what people are responding to? Because, while there may be an excessive shot or two, the film presented here on DVD is simply not what they're describing.

By another way, Breillat fans will also want to explore this DVD (in fact a 2-disc set) for the special features, which includes individual bonus interviews with each of the ten directors - Breillat's clocks in at over 15 minutes.

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