In 36 Fillette for instance a year-old girl is determined to lose her virginity. Her latest, the ironically-titled Romance tracks the sexual odyssey of year-old elementary school teacher Marie Caroline Ducey , whose live-in boyfriend Paul Sagamore Stevenin has not had sex with her for three months. The script makes Paul a fashion model, supposedly to underscore his self-absorption. Rather than fine tune her seduction strategy, Marie defiantly goes on the prowl, abandoning herself physically to all comers.
Her heart, though, still belongs to Paul. That Cartesian mind-body dualism is still engrained in the French psyche. She soon ventures into shady terrain.
After rough sex cunnilingus plus sodomy with a street pick-up, spread-eagle on the apartment building stairs, she gravitates to stud Paulo Italian porn star Rocco Siffredi who is visibly better-hung than Paul, but does not love her, alas.
Opting for existential tableaux rather than the cause and effect thing, Breillat nevertheless manages some deft segues. Who better than your principal? Framing its frontal nudity in a Good Housekeeping all-white decor, an elaborate bondage sequence, and in-your-face childbirth scene, its denouement packing the retaliatory violence of a Valerie Solanas, Romance aims for sacrilege while idolizing the profane.
White in Romance is by turn bridal, clinical, sacrificial, ultimately seraphic. At the ages of nine and 10, she and her sister, sequestered by their parents because of early puberty, were nevertheless allowed to devour the adult section of their local library in Nyors, a small town south of Poitiers in the French provinces, also home to Georges Clouzot.
The last straw for Marie is when Paul impregnates her with preseminal fluid, sparking a drastic, final response from Marie; nevertheless, the film plays more as a deadpan minimalist spoof on sexual mores than as a relationship film.
I want to record the most minute tremors of emotion…. I see women as both very aggressive and also very vulnerable. However, when she tried to cast the part, she realized she needed someone much younger. Young girls can drag themselves through the mud yet remain very pure. A woman may stay adolescent much longer than her physical appearance. But since cinema deals with physical appearances, I cast a really young actress. Gagged, bound, and tied with white rope, of course to a window, the scene is played out in macro detail to show that Marie sexually enjoys the proceedings, at least until she breaks down.
Fortunately the actress only had to go through it once. It took us a while to find out how to tie the rope. I wanted to make a figure of a cross as in a Mondrian painting, with the same proportions. The act of tying had to look simple and clean for the purposes of the film, not too fast and not too slow.
Caroline looked as though her soul was leaving her body, as though she was living a kind of death. The scene was like a death and then a redemption.
I think you have to accept your passions and understand them…. Cinema for me is a leap into the void. Cinema must film human functions in a noble manner.