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Locarno Jury Chief Catherine Breillat on Cinema, Gender, Controversy

Locarno Jury Chief Catherine Breillat on Cinema, Gender, Controversy

Catherine Breillat is no stranger to controversy. If the French novelist and director has spent a career confronting censorship and social taboos, that has not prevented her from developing a reputation as one of the world’s most iconoclastic and widely acclaimed authorial voices.

From her 1976 directorial debut, “A Real Young Girl,” through to 2013’s “Abuse of Weakness,” Breillat has continually sought to examine and reframe conventional depictions of femininity, more often than not twisting them towards provocative ends. This year she heads the Locarno Film Festival jury – which marks a fitting choice for both a festival finding new footing under the leadership of artistic director Lili Hinstin, and for a larger film culture still wrestling with many of the questions Breillat has regularly explored.

Variety spoke with this year’s jury president shortly before she packed her bags for Locarno. [Note: This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.]

Do you have any history with Locarno?

Locarno was

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