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Blue Beard review

Experimental without being too daring, Breillat whips up another sultry drama

Catherine Breillat’s move from arthouse provocations to ponderous period dramas continues with this austere, slyly experimental adaptation of Charles Perrault’s grisly classic.

As manipulative young maiden Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton) plots to marry melancholy ogre Bluebeard (Dominique Thomas), the film subtly shifts conventional sexual politics ’til the fearless filly seems to have the whip hand.

Winding round this trad tale are a ’50s pair of quarrelling sisters whose funny, fearful reading of the fairytale determines whether the bloodied bride gets the castle or the chop.

Sadly, the deliberately flat visuals and pared-down staging look more am-dram than arty. If you loved Breillat’s brittle The Last Mistress, this cerebral piece won’t fry your onions.

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Available platformsMovie