19-year-old kitchen maid Augustine suffers a grand mal seizure and is diagnosed with hysteria. She is committed to the Salpêtrière hospital, where ambitious physician Charlot takes special interest in her. Trying to raise funding, he trains her for a lecture-hall display of her maladies for other doctors and the press. As the day for their big demonstration draws closer, the object of his studies becomes the object of his desire, and the incarcerated Augustine comes to realize that she too has some power.

Alice Winocour’s feature film debut is a historical drama, set at the beginning of modern neurology and psychology. Free from archaic dialogue and the usual stuffiness of costume dramas, it paints Belle Époque Paris with an exquisite palette of shadowy-dim interiors and misty gray and damp green exteriors. It is a sensual, fiercely intelligent tale of female sexual awakening, desire and power, that make for a story of suppressed sexual tension gripping the viewer from start to finish.

FREDRIK MRAS

Augustine poster
Title
Augustine
Director
Alice Winocour
Country
France
Length
101 min
Festival
2012
Section
Competition
Language
French
Subtitle
English
Premiere status
Nordic Premiere
Production year
2012
Cast
Vincent Lindon, Soko, Chiara Mastroianni,
Producer
Isabelle Madelaine, Emilie Tisné
Script
Alice Winocour
Music
Jocelyn Pook

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See all films from the 2012 festival