Catherine et Cie (1975)

AKA Catherine & Co

Jane Birkin is often sexy in this Catherine Breillat-scripted comedy – although, as you may expect with Breillat, among all the nudity it has some unsettling or cruel moments. Moreover, although this is probably one of Patrick Dewaere’s lesser roles, his presence alone makes this worthfile for anyone interested in French cinema of the 1970s.

‘Catherine & Co’ has always been one of my favorite bits of fluff. It was made in France and has a French sensibility to the nude female form and a light, though not uncritical attitude towards sexual freedom. Catherine is a kind of latter day Moll Flanders–a woman without means in a culture where men control the means to a comfortable life–and she trades on the only resources she has, her looks and charm. She travels through modern French society as a picaresque hero, revealing the comic weaknesses of commercialism, old nobility, unwanted children and ghost-written novels. The satiric targets are likable and sympathetic characters who are convincingly Catherine’s friends. While Birkin’s characterization of Catherine is often broad and farcical, she also gives the character an innocence, a faithfulness and survival instinct that provides dimension beyond farce. If you like and are not offended by Restoration comedy, you may enjoy ‘Catherine & Co.’

Actors: Jane Birkin