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Dir. Catherine Breillat
1999, France, 99 min
Rated 18A
French with English subtitles

A “heroic quest in sexual identity”, Romance follows a frustrated woman as she has several affairs in order to spark the interest of her lover.

Join us on June 5 for an introduction by Saffron Maeve, a Toronto-based critic, academic, and film curator. She is a contributor to Film Comment, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, MUBI Notebook, Cinema Scope, Screen Slate, Le Cinéma Club, as well as a member of the Toronto Film Critics Association and GALECA, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics. Saffron also moderates film talks at the TIFF Lightbox and is a series programmer at Paradise Theatre, where she curates and hosts CONTOURS, a bimonthly screening series which examines films that deal in the world of visual art. Presently, Saffron is pursuing an MA at the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute.

Presented in partnership with Alliance Française du Manitoba. Generously sponsored by the Ambassade de France au Canada.

Content warning: This film includes challenging and/or triggering subject matter, including depictions of sexual violence, as well as explicit nudity and graphic depictions of sex.

“A difficult film to love – perhaps as difficult as Marie finds it to love Paul – although there is something in its exploration of gender norms, deviant desires and the split between body and mind that remains compelling to the finish.” – Anton Bitel, Little White Lies

“The film has an icy fascination. Perhaps it is a test of how men and women relate to eroticism on the screen.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“I often like to say that I am not scandalous but that I am a scandal, and that society has actually denied me the right to exist.”

This summer, the Dave Barber Cinematheque presents Female Perversions: The Films of Catherine Breillat, featuring four explicit, transgressive and emotionally ambiguous works – Romance (1999), Fat Girl (2001), Anatomy of Hell (2004), and Last Summer (2023).

Over the last three decades, Catherine Breillat has clinically charted sexuality and its intersections with power and intimacy. In her films, she treats sexual politics as philosophical and coldly analytical, confronting the viewer with the explicit taboos around the body. Her films explore the adolescent obsession with the loss of virginity, masochism, misogyny, and female sexuality. For Breillat, there is always an element of power involved in pleasure.

Transgressive and challenging, Female Perversions aims to explore the career of a singular and unapologetic filmmaker whose films examine the meaning of bodies from social, political and personal angles.

Presented in partnership with Alliance Française du Manitoba. Generously sponsored by the Ambassade de France au Canada.

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