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The theories about sexuality and trauma artfully advanced in this previously unreleased 1975 debut of director Catherine Breillat (Romance, Fat Girl) are more nuanced and intuitive than those of most schools of psychology. Alice (Charlotte Alexandra) is as fixated on her genitals as are the men who expose theirs to her, in fantastic and realist sequences that blur the line between what she desperately wants, what repulses her, and what she actually experiences. While her mother aggressively does housework, complaining all the while about her life, Alice sunbathes and flirts—or more—with her father, who's having an affair. It's as if she's biding her time until she manages to seduce one of his dreamier employees or, better yet, escapes by returning to school at the end of the summer vacation. Periodically she takes flight in her imagination or on her bike, where she's always removing her underwear so she or someone else can insert something into her vagina. “Disgust makes me lucid,” she says in voice-over after vomiting on herself. “It was at that very moment that I decided to write my diary because I couldn't sleep—that would have meant giving in; it would have meant obeying.” Breillat wrote the screenplay based on her novel Le soupirail. In French with subtitles. 92 min.

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