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A Real Young Girl (1976)
A surreal voyage into adolescent sexuality.
Director: Catherine Breillat

Bored and restless, Alice spends much of her time lusting after Jim, a local sawmill worker. When not lusting after him, Alice fills the hours with such pursuits as writing her name on a mirror with vaginal secretions and wandering the fields with her underwear around her ankles. And, in true teenaged tradition, she spends a lot of time writing in her diary.

A Real Young Girl (1976)

Another Alice

Although blunt and clumsy, this film transports one — especially a male — to a place never visited. That’s in part because of the unflinching honesty of the narrative stance; never wavering from the girl’s perspective. It it were more familiar territory, like Jane Campion’s, it would be a failure — or if it wavered into observation rather than experience (like “Claire’s Knee”).

The tone and structure is taken from “Alice in Wonderland:” the episodic shifts into fantasy, the Red Queen, the effete King, the “Jack” (here a lumberjack) the ink, the flies, the tarts. Alice is a remarkably common metaphoric structure for such visual explorations of sexual angst. I was very impressed with another sexual Alice: “Sex and Lucia” which engaged with the folding of perspectives and realities rather than as here the near familiar strangeness.

Posted in 2003

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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