May 1 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter
"Augustine" was written and directed by Alice Winocour, who believes there should be no boundaries for women in film. In a recent interview, she expressed her dissatisfaction with the concept of "women's films" and also rejected the label "female filmmaker." Winocour thinks it is boring to be placed in a category and wants to direct all types of films.
That being said, I think anyone watching "Augustine" can detect a female intelligence behind the camera. Winocour makes clear that women diagnosed as hysterics were often treated as carnival freaks by the medical establishment. In one scene, Augustine is exhibited to a group of (male) doctors. After she suffers a seizure, induced by Dr. Charcot, the audience applauds the "performance".
Soko, the French singer/songwriter who plays Augustine, is an interesting choice for the role. She appears nude in several scenes. Her body actually conforms to the 19th century ideal of beauty, the era the film takes place. I think another director would have cast a super-thin beauty who embodies the current stereotype. Winocour also includes a scene in which Charcot's wife is removing her corset, revealing the deep, red indentations the device leaves on her body. She may be making a comment on the resurgence of the corset being used in "waist-training."
Winocour's second feature film, "Disorder", is a thriller starring Matthias Schoenaerts as an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD. It premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival and was recently released in England. "Disorder" has yet to be released in the US, however. Winocour also co-wrote "Mustang", a 2016 Academy Award nominee, with its director Deniz Gamze Erguven.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Augustine Film Review
Writer/director Alice Winocour uses historical fact as the basis for her powerful debut feature. A young woman suffering mysterious seizures is committed to a hospital for female "hysterics". A seductive game begins between Augustine, who wants her life back, and the controlling Dr. Charcot.
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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor
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