A Very Curious Girl

1969 [FRENCH]

Comedy / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.9 10 732

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by writers_reign 7 / 10

Jolly Rogers

Again this is one you have to attempt to view in the context of the climate in which it was released; in 1969 the Sisterhood would have been all over this like a rash and Nelly Kaplan would have been well on the way to canonization for turning in this tale of a chauvinist's plaything/sex object turning the tables and 'empowering' herself and by extension downtrodden women everywhere. There's just one flaw in the ointment. Marie, aged somewhere around 20 has (presumably) been treated as a doormat in general and sex object for the pleasure of both the men of the village and at least one lesbian landowner. She lives with her mother in squalor, which is a hut with no electricity/running water on the outskirts of the village. One day the mother dies and a light goes on over Marie's head: she's through being the village bike for free, now they'll have to pay to lay. AND THEY DO! Why? She hasn't suddenly become proficient in karate, developed a genius level IQ, or metamorphosed into a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. Why would these men (and woman) who had been more or less raping her for years suddenly become pussycats and dance to her tune. They Wouldn't, of course; in reality they'd run her out of town on a rail BUT if you can accept this premise this is a neat little satire which hits 90 per cent of the targets it aims at and is funny with it.

Reviewed by morrison-dylan-fan 8 / 10

"You made her work like a dog for a bowl of soup."

Taken by her performance in the interestingly off-beat A Gorgeous Girl Like Me,I decided to take a look at actress Bernadette Lafont's other credits from the year.Looking round online for other Lafont movies,I stumbled upon one which sounded like a quality slice of French smut… I mean erotica,which led to me getting ready to find out how gorgeous this curious girl could be.

The plot:

Moving to a town in the countryside, Marie and her family are looked down upon by everyone,with all the men secretly groping Marie,thanks to no one listening to a word she says. Whilst cleaning up,Marie gets the tragic news that her mum has died after being hit by a car.Wanting to not see any of the villagers fake tears,Marie decides to bury her mother in the back garden (!) Disguised by how the town has treated her,Marie decides to turn the tables,by becoming the lone prostitute in the village. Used to having their way with her,the married men in the village secretly pay for her services,completely unaware that Marie is planning to show the true face of the village.

View on the film:

Joined by a cheeky Louis Malle as the reverent Jesus, (perhaps an in-joke over the response to Malle's The Lovers?) the very sexy Bernadette Lafont (who appears naked) gives an excellent performance as Marie.Starting the movie nervous and curled up in the corner, Lafont rolls out Marie to reveal a quick-witted pragmatic nature barely hidden behind Marie's risqué clothes.

Looking at the village from the outcast perspective of Marie,the screenplay by co-writer/(along with Michel Fabre/Claude Makovski and Jacques Serguine) director Nelly Kaplan (a women director!) takes a satirical jab at the elite bourgeoisie lifestyle,by cleverly making everyone in the village expose their two-faced morals at the very first sight of the alluring vixen. Whilst offering some naughty flings,the writers mainly lace witty one liners which hit all the men trying to keep their good moral image,whilst secretly playing away with Marie.Soaking the village in a rustic grit,director Kaplan and cinematographer Jean Badal neatly balance the earthy shine by packing Marie's house with odds and ends brilliantly displayed which cast a rich bohemian atmosphere,as Marie reveals how curious she is.

Reviewed by dromasca 8 / 10

a rediscovered jewell from the French cinema of the 60s

The life of a cinephile holds surprises and sometimes these surprises are very pleasant. This is the case with the discovery of a film made in 1969 - 'La fiancée du pirate' (in English it was distributed under the title 'A Very Curious Girl') -, made by a very interesting director (Nelly Kaplan) about whom I knew nothing before, and with a remarkable actress (Bernadette Lafont) once considered considered "the face of French New Wave" about whom I should surely have known more in the lead role. These are completely or almost completely forgotten names, an undeserved forgetfulness in my opinion. 'La fiancée du pirate' is a film that should be taken out of the archives and re-released for today's audiences because it deserves to be seen, known and discussed by film lovers, now, 50 years after its first launching.

After seeing the film, which was a revelation for me, I looked for information about the director. Nelly Kaplan is a writer of fiction and film books, and began her career as an assistant to Abel Gance in the 1950s. A few 'art' short films followed in the 1960s. 'La fiancée du pirate' was her first feature film, after which she directed several more films, but none seems to approach its level. A unique career peak? Why? Has she been categorized as a 'daring' filmmaker close to soft-porn? 'La fiancée du pirate' has a dose of nudity and eroticism that today seems 'standard' but even in 1969, at least in French cinema, I don't think it was a very shocking film. However, her career as a 'serious' writer seems to have overshadowed that of a director. What a pity.

The story of the film takes place in a French village on the edge of which the main heroine, Marie, lives in a hut, performing the derisive work of a maid, being economically and sexually exploited by many locals, men and women. The shock of her mother's death and the visit of a friend, an itinerant film projectionist (the excellent Michel Constantin), determine her to decide that it was time for her life to take a turn. She will start charging for sexual services and will take revenge on those who exploited her until then. From the maid without rights she becomes the number one attraction of the gathering of villains who had taken advantage of her until then and the enemy number one of the hypocrites and of the jealous wives. The film can be seen as a social farce, in which a heroine, who reminded me of the unforgettable Giulietta Masina from 'Nights of Cabiria', refuses to continue to be a victim and faces the ridiculousness of evil, taking advantage of the vices and weaknesses of the people populating a world that predicts that of Emir Kusturica's films. The lead role is played by Bernadette Lafont, an actress with a rich filmography, an exceptional physique and a talent to match. I also wonder about her, why is she all but forgotten by now? We can see a few more well-known figures from other French films, in a colorful gallery of excellently drawn supporting roles. Georges Moustaki's music and Barbara's voice are additional reasons to enjoy. The film can now be seen in full on youTube and I recommend you watch it, because director Nelly Kaplan and actress Bernadette Lafont are two artists who do not deserve to be forgotten.

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