All True Artists Are Hated: The Transgressions of Catherine Breillat

A sexual thriller without intercourse, a slow-burning S&M fable about the nature of power.”

Colleen Kelsey, cléo

In 2004, at the age of 56, Catherine Breillat suffered a serious stroke. Her left side was initially paralyzed and after five months in the hospital she worked like a demon to walk again. Not long after, she prepared an adaptation of her novel Bad Love and decided to cast notorious swindler of the stars” Christophe Rocancourt, fresh from a jail term for fraud. Over the next several months, Rocancourt took advantage of Breillat’s condition and stood by her side as she wrote him cheques amounting to over half-a-million euros. She later took him to court, won her case, and chronicled the experience in a book that she adapted into a uniquely haunting film, with a bold, tough performance by Isabelle Huppert as the Breillat figure and French/​Portuguese rapper Kool Shen as the con man. —NYFF 2013

In French with English subtitles

It’s hard to imagine an actress other than Huppert so artfully layering frailty and toughness, self-delusion and self-awareness.”

Kristin M. Jones, Film Comment
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