February 28, 2002

Cornell Cinema

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Prior to undergoing a traumatic event, victims are known to block the experience from their memories entirely so that they are able to move on with life. Adolescence may be such an experience, and, as French director Catherine Breillat posits, it may be one of the more traumatic experiences.

In her controversial film Fat Girl, or A Ma Soeur! as it was titled in France, Breillat also posits that perhaps the memory of this traumatic time falls victim to the faculties of the imagination. Perhaps victims of the teen years spin fables of what really occurred or who they really were to obtain a hint of normalcy in adult life. Without the fantasy of teenage-hood, humans might spend their entire young adulthood in a state of aftershock, attempting to find the meaning of those traumatic years within the bigger picture.

So what renders years 12 through 20 so traumatic? Breillat sets forth a few of the bare minimums within her brooding, tortured heroine, the twelve-year-old Ana