French cinema is evocative and deeply personal filmmaking. Few French directors’ work can be considered more personal than that of Catherine Breillat. She’s written several bestsellers, both fictional and autobiographical, and translated them to the screen. The controversial themes she explores have been widely praised and criticized—her first film was banned for more than 20 years.
Since 2001, Breillat has won 9 festival awards for her films. Quite an achievement, considering she suffered a stroke in 2004 and has been working her way back to full health ever since. Her most recent film, arguably the most personal of them all, is loosely based on how that struggle made her vulnerable to the famous conman, Christophe Rocancourt, who has been convicted for his crimes against Breillat. The film, Abuse of Weakness, was an official selection at the 51st New York Film Festival and enjoyed an exclusive theatrical run at the Lincoln Center in the summer of 2014.