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La Femme Enfant 1980l


La Femme Enfant 1980: A Controversial Film by Raphaële Billetdoux




La Femme Enfant (The Child Woman) is a 1980 French drama film directed by Raphaële Billetdoux and starring Klaus Kinski. The film tells the story of a secret and strange relationship between a 13-year-old girl and a 40-year-old mute man who works as a gardener at a castle. The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival , but received mixed reviews from critics and audiences.


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The Plot




The film is set in a small village in the north of France. Elisabeth, almost thirteen, is the daughter of the hairdressers of the town. For more than three years she has been secretly visiting Marcel, a mute man who works as a caretaker at a castle, and whom the villagers call simple-minded. They have their rites, their games, their habits- their quarrels too, quickly forgotten and forgiven. Their relation is secret and strange, she is being in turn authoritarian and submissive. But, this little game becomes heavy while the girl becomes a young woman. One day, Elisabeth, who plays the organ at the church, passes the competition of the conservatory brilliantly. She leaves the village without regret, while Marcel can not bear her absence.


The Cast





  • Klaus Kinski as Marcel: The German actor, known for his collaborations with Werner Herzog and his volatile personality, plays the role of a silent and lonely man who develops an attachment to a young girl. Kinski's performance was praised by some critics, but also criticized by others for being too creepy and disturbing.



  • Pénélope Palmer as Elisabeth: The French actress, who was only 14 years old at the time of filming, plays the role of a precocious and rebellious girl who seeks a friend and a lover in Marcel. Palmer's performance was also controversial, as she had to appear nude in some scenes with Kinski.



  • Michel Robin as Henri: The French actor plays the role of Elisabeth's father, who is unaware of his daughter's relationship with Marcel.



  • Hélène Surgère as Lucienne: The French actress plays the role of Elisabeth's mother, who is also ignorant of her daughter's secret life.




The Controversy




The film was controversial for its depiction of a sexual relationship between a minor and an adult, which raised ethical and legal issues. According to Raphaële Billetdoux, the shooting with Klaus Kinski was a nightmare and at one point she had the temptation to stop there, as it was no longer possible to continue. For example, during the bathing scene that Kinski is preparing for the girl, Palmer was already very anxious about shooting a nude scene, even shot in a very modest way. So Billetdoux had reduced the technical team to and set the stage so that Kinski turned his back (as well as the camera), as Palmer was about to enter the bathtub. And Kinski had a fit: "What ?! I turn my back ?! Never ! And then, I want to see her naked ... ". The film was also banned in some countries for its explicit content.


The Reception




The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised it for its artistic value and its exploration of human emotions, while others condemned it for its exploitation and perversion of innocence. The film has a rating of 6.3 out of 10 on IMDb, based on 167 user reviews. The film has not been widely distributed or released on DVD or streaming platforms.


The Conclusion




La Femme Enfant is a film that challenges the viewer's moral and aesthetic sensibilities. It is a film that can be seen as either a masterpiece or a disaster, depending on one's perspective. It is a film that remains obscure and controversial, even after four decades since its release.


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