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A Real Young Girl (18*)

After the Wave: Young French Cinema in the 1970s

Shot of two people at the dinner table

This debut feature by Catherine Breillat rips apart conventional images of adolescent girlhood, showing us instead a real young girl.

Stuck at home over the summer holidays, 14-year-old Alice conceives a breathless passion for a hunky workman at her dad’s sawmill. It’s the 60s, and demure Françoise Hardy-style ye-ye singers are all the rage; our heroine, though, is decidedly less pure, less submissive, altogether less… wholesome.

One of only a small clutch of films to show teenage female sexuality from the inside, its frankness about bodies, bodily fluids and sexual fantasies is intended to disrupt voyeuristic pleasure and desecrate Lolita-like fantasies. Tonally it’s a singularly odd concoction: explicit, dreamy, sometimes very funny, slipping constantly between fantasy and reality.

France 1976 Dir Catherine Breillat 93 min 35mm presentation

* Locally classified by the City of London Corporation

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