The Mad Woman’s Ball review – Mélanie Laurent’s compelling melodrama

The actor turns director again for a compelling psychodrama about women subjected to experimental psychiatric treatment

Since her acting breakthrough as the defiant Shosanna in Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi thriller Inglourious Basterds, Mélanie Laurent has cultivated a flourishing parallel career in as a director. Now she pulls out all the stops with this highly watchable and well-made costume drama from the French belle époque, a vehement psychological melodrama of romance and the supernatural, set in a sinister neuro-psychiatric hospital where supposedly hysterical women are incarcerated and subjected to clinical surveillance and experimental treatment by frowning, frock-coated men. (It is in fact Paris’s Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, which has now evolved into a modern-day teaching institution and was a setting for Agnès Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7.)

, The Mad Woman’s Ball review – Mélanie Laurent’s compelling melodrama, The Nzuchi Times Guardian

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