Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 7:30pm
Nelly Kaplan's A Very Curious Girl

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Laura Mulvey

A Very Curious Girl, Nelly Kaplan, 1969, digital projection, 107 mins

In her first feature film, Nelly Kaplan tells the story of Marie (Bernadette Lafont), the despised outcast of a small French village, who turns the tables on its hypocritical authority figures. Marie accumulates power over her former tormentors—unable to resist her, forced to pay for sex with her—ultimately exerting an explosive revenge at the village’s Sunday Mass. Kaplan’s brutal satire of French village life and Marie’s escape from it were understood as deeply subversive by the censors: it was only through the director's personal and forceful intervention that the film was grudgingly awarded an 18+ certificate. A Very Curious Girl is filmed with exuberant music and color, contrasting the drabness of the village with Marie’s flamboyant lifestyle. As she decorates her woodland surroundings with the consumer goods she buys from catalogs, Marie creates an animistic shrine, evoking the ancient powers of the witch and also her contempt for values of all kinds. The original French title, La Fiancée du pirate (The Pirate’s Fiancée) cites the song "Pirate Jenny" from Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, while Kaplan’s gesture against provincial social propriety suggests the Surrealism that had strongly influenced her. Released in 1969, in the early days of the Women’s Liberation movement, A Very Curious Girl immediately touched a nerve of excitement at the first women’s film festivals. I remember very clearly its impact at the Edinburgh Film Festival’s "Women and Film" event in 1972 where it was hailed as a triumphant example of feminist filmmaking to come. Whether or not the legacy of A Very Curious Girl has been fulfilled, it remains an exhilaratingly feminist film that is well worth reviving for a new audience today.

- LM

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.