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Stars: Lola Créton, Dominique Thomas, Daphne Baiwir, Marilou Lopez-Benites, Lola Giovannetti

Director: Catherine Breillat

A stunningly-coloured but otherwise very dull version of Perrault's quite bloodthirsty fairy tale about an impoverished orphan maiden who marries a bulky, bearded aristocrat (who is rumoured to have murdered all his previous wives) in order to escape her dreary life.

For a while it's Beauty (although Skinny would be more like it) and the beast but, when she ventures into his forbidden room, where hang the (remarkably well preserved) corpses of his marital victims, her own fate is sealed...or so it seems.

Meanwhile, a side-story of two little girls reading the tale of Bluebeard comes to a less happy end.

Very ponderous even for an 80-minute film, the movie contains far too many 'travelling along' and static shots that don't advance the fragile narrative. It's hard to see, in fact, who would like this picture, which seems to have little or no target audience, other than those who would simply enjoy its ravishing images. The ending is confused and abrupt.

David Quinlan

France 2009. UK Distributor: New Wave Films. Duboicolor.
80 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Jul 2010