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  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
  • Behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Fat Girl
  • Two interviews with the director, including a look at the film's alternate ending
  • French and U.S. theatrical trailers

Fat Girl

Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Catherine Breillat
Starring: Anaïs Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero de Rienzo, Arsinée Khanjian, Romain Goupil, Laura Betti
2001 | 86 Minutes | Licensor: Code Red Films

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #259
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 19, 2004
Review Date: January 14, 2012

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Twelve-year-old AnaÔs is fat. Her sister, Elena, is a teenage beauty. While on vacation with their parents, AnaÔs tags along with Elena as she explores the dreary seaside town. Elena meets Fernando, an Italian law student, who seduces her with promises of love, and the ever-watchful Anais bears witness to the corruption of her sister's innocence. Precise and uncompromising, Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl is a bold dissection of sibling rivalry and female adolescent sexuality from one of contemporary cinema's most controversial directors.

Forum members rate this film 5.9/10


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Criterionís DVD edition of Catherine Breillatís Fat Girl presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc and enhanced for widescreen televisions.

The DVD is decent looking enough but for a newer film (the film was made in 2001 and the DVD came out in 2004) but I think I expected a little better. Itís fairly sharp but not overly so, and long shots can look especially murky. Halos and edge-enhancement are present in places, and noise gets a little heavy in darker sequences. Colours do look pretty good, with some nice renderings of blues and reds, and the blacks also look fairly deep and inky. The print used is also in excellent condition.

Itís decent enough, but again I thought a newer film from Criterion would have more of an impact. The recently released Blu-ray is far more impressive in comparison.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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Criterion includes two French tracks, a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and DTS 5.1 surround track. Both sound great and also appear to be mixed the same, but the DTS track does edge out the DD track ever so slightly as best shown in a scene on the beach where they waves sound to be crashing around the viewer. The DTS track sounds a little fuller with better bass.

The track is dialogue heavy and most of it sticks to the fronts but there are some sound exterior sound effects that sneak around to the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and articulate, bass is pretty good, and overall sound quality is clean. Not demo material but still fairly impressive for the nature of the film.



Criterion was the first to release the controversial film on home video yet letís be honest, with what we get here any studio could have put it out and we would have probably received the same lame set of supplements. The movie aches for some scholarly material but Criterion unfortunately just gives this one a quickie release.

First is a rather useless Making of ďdocumentaryĒ running 5-and-a-half minutes, made up of brief interview clips and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as unedited footage from the film. Thereís a couple things Breillat says regarding how she works with the actors that may prove interesting if only because it makes it seem she has a certain contempt for them (further suggested by her comments in the other features found on this disc.) Though it shows brief footage of a deleted scene, which turns out to be an alternate ending, it really doesnít come off as anything more than a fluffy PR featurette.

Under ďInterviewsĒ we get a couple of features. Catherine Breillat talks about her film is a little better in comparison to the previous feature but not by much. Breillat talks about her characters in the film and prepping the actors for the roles. She then carries on more about what she hates about actors, specifically ones that want control over their parts, but she at least speaks fondly of her lead, AnaÔs Reboux. She then talks about editing and discovering new meanings to her film, which explains the alternate ending, shown here, that was shot and probably rightly not used. In all honesty I didnít find her comments on the characters and themes within the film particularly insightful and found them to be more superficial. The only real value is the presentation of the alternate ending.

The final feature is an interview with Catherine Breillat filmed after the premiere of Fat Girl at the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival. Here she kind of repeats some of the things said in the previous interviews found on this disc, particularly about the themes in the film and the characters and actors, but her comments about the comedy found in the nastier aspects of the film are intriguing as are comments that expand upon the relationship between the sisters. This interview runs 12-minutes.

The disc then closes with a fairly awful American theatrical trailer and a not-as-bad French trailer. Both are just over a minute long.

The fold-out insert probably proves to be the strongest aspect of this edition, first presenting a decent essay by Ginette Vincendeau followed by a reprint of an interview with Breillat which is possibly the best interview with her to be found in the set. The booklet then concludes with a note by Breillat explaining the title and issues there were with translating it between languages.

The film is really such a polarizing one that it would truly benefit from some more analysis from film critics and scholars, but instead we get a few supplements with the director repeating some of the same statements over and over again about the her process and working with the actors, never offering much insight into her own film. In the end I could give or take just about everything on here.



The presentation is fine enough but could be better. The supplements are also a big missed opportunity and what we get isnít terribly interesting. Feels like one Criterion could have put more effort into.

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