This 35mm screening is part of the Barbican's 'Cinema Matters: What the Movies Do To Us' season. You can find details of all the films here.
A Real Young Girl is one of only a small clutch of films showing teenage female sexuality from the inside, and is notable for its audacious approach to its subject – in terms of explicit imagery, but also in daring to depict aspects of the heroine’s sexuality that are not comfortably titillating. Completed in 1976, it was banned in France for over 25 years and only released onto the festival circuit in 2000.
France 1976 Catherine Breillat 93 min 35mm presentation
Begun back when mainstream movies allowed the occasional glimpse of breast but certainly no pubic hair, this pioneering experimental short explicitly shows the director and her partner making love. Conceived as a celebration of everyday sex, it consists of collaged sequences, some hand-painted and etched. “It’s different from any pornographic work you’ve ever seen… and there’s no objectification of fetishization of the woman.” (Carolee Schneemann)
US 1964-1967 Dir Carolee Schneemann 25 min 16mm presentation
A sensual, evocative collage of over 100 images selected for their representation of the sense of touch, this experimental short broke new ground in its exploration of lesbian identity and desire. In the words of the director, “I wanted to make a lesbian commercial.”
US 1974 Dir Barbara Hammer 4 min 16mm presentation
Chicago Reader review:
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.