Anyone who reads this site knows how much we are “hardcore” fans of French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche. Despite winning the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion with his last work La graine et le mule (just released on Criterion) the film was regrettably undervalued when it was pegged with an end of year theatrical release. With Black Venus, Kechiche will once again compete in Venice and the voluminous almost three hour drama will surely met with the same fate: critically applauded, difficult to market in North America. I’m crossing my fingers for a TIFF North American premiere to alter the film’s fate.
Set in 19th century Europe, this is inspired by the true story of Saartjie Baartman, a South African slave whose unusually oversized features brought her to, where she found fame (born with physical deformities, she ended up being exhibited as a circus freak in Paris) and fought for her own freedom. First time actress Yahima Torres plays Baartman, and Olivier Gourmet (who you can make out in the distance, middle of the still) plays Réaux, le forain. Here is Kechiche giving directions on set to an unidentified actress. Look for more pics shortly.