The Junk Food of Writing

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Yeah, she's a little chubby.

Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl is an incisive and indelible look at sexuality -- sexuality as a game of course. Larry Clark, take notes. The most telling scene is the 20 minute long, 'almost-every-teenager-has-probably-gone-through-this' seduction scene. Within these twenty minutes (which, when I looked at the DVD clock, was shocked to see was longer than 7 or 8 minutes), the dominance swaps from male to female, and back to the male again. Its playful, and ultimately devastating, to see the genders swap power -- and the scene is brillaintly acted. To make it even richer, the conversation and sexual acts are being voyeuristically watched by another character (through a couple of her fingers), whom they know is in the room (although a potent question to ask would be: did they ever forget she was there?).

The titular porker. You don't want to know what kind of photos I was exposed to during the google image search for this picture.

I really appreciate how, beyond the central 'relationsip' in the film, Breillat deftly manages to balance the corrupting of the sisters. One is being sexually exploited (by a skilled, yet still transparent, lothario) and her slightly-corpulent sister is becoming more and more sexually repressed (taking out her sexual frustration on various poles in the pool -- great little scene). I didn't think its insights into sisterhood were as successful as its statement on teenagers and sex, though. It's not exactly a subtle film, but it's just overtly malicious and candid enough (I, oddly, don't have a problem with the ending, which makes quite a bit of sense when considering the rest of the film, which is wrapped in such mourning) to get its point across effectively and uniquely. I think it's one of the better films to be released in 2001. It's right behind Monsters Inc.

By the way, seeing the film gives a new meaning to the DVD cover. It's probably one of my favorite Criterion covers -- I love when more information gives you a whole new perspective on an image.


  • I'm still sorting out my feelings for Fat Girl (especially that polarizing finale), but I do have a lot of respect for Breillat's take-me-or-leave-me depiction of female puberty and sexuality, as well as the trio of young actors so fearless in telling her story. It's certainly a film I'd like to see again (when I mentioned this to the cousin I watched the film with after the credits rolled, he gave me a horrified look and said "Never! You're alone on this one!".)

    By Blogger Ali, at 9:13 PM  

  • interesting...i haven't seen this film before, but i certainly agree with your thoughts on film covers who's meanings increase after you see them are pretty cool.

    --RC of

    By Blogger RC, at 12:02 AM  

  • RC, DON'T see it!

    By Blogger Emma, at 9:04 AM  

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