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Bluebeard (DVD Review)

22 May, 2010 By: Billy Gil

Prebook 5/25/10; Street 6/22/10
Box Office $0.03 million
$27.99 DVD
Not rated.
In French with English subtitles.

This retelling of the French fable Bluebeard, about a wealthy man whose new young wife tries to avoid the fate that befell his previous wives, highlights the feminist undertones in the story while keeping the tale close to its roots.

Young Anne and Marie-Catherine’s father dies, leaving them and their mother little money. Their mother suggests they join a convent or become ladies-in-waiting, but rebellious Anne (Daphné Baiwir) says she’d rather be buried alive.

At the same time, a local nobleman is looking for a new wife and rounds up the young women of the town, before settling on Marie-Catherine (Lola Créton). Even younger than Anne, Marie-Catherine thrills in her new dresses and the attention of someone rich, someone important.

That people say Bluebeard murdered his former wives doesn’t deter Marie-Catherine from seeking to avoid poverty and to escape her sister’s shadow.

Scattered throughout Bluebeard are scraps of wisdom regarding the role of the poor and of women, and Baiwir’s performance as Anne, in particular, is astounding and assured. The film slows down in the second half, and I don’t understand the significance of the concurrent subplot of two young girls reading the story of Bluebeard aloud (this is a French film, after all), but fans of warped fairy tales should find Bluebeard to be fascinating nonetheless.

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