Catherine Breillat’s (Anatomy of Hell, The Last Mistress) distinctive retelling of the French fairytale by Charles Perrault begins in the 1950s where two young sisters are at play. As the younger sister reads Bluebeard aloud to her frightened sibling, the 17th-century story unfolds onscreen. Unable to pay the fees after the death of their father, sisters Marie-Catherine (Lola Creton) and Anne (Daphne Baiwir) have been thrown out of their boarding school. Penniless, and their family facing ruin, Anne decides to marry a local noble, the menacing Bluebeard (Dominique Thomas). It’s a bold move considering his previous wives have all vanished without a trace. Once married, he asks one thing of her, that she stays out of a specific room.
Something of a departure from the overtly provocative films she is best known for, Breillat’s low-budget, understated adaptation is stylishly executed and highly compelling.