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After a decade-long hiatus, Catherine Breillat (Abuse of Weakness, MIFF 2014; Bluebeard, MIFF 2009) returns with a daring portrait of a woman’s intimate relationship with her teen stepson, starring Léa Drucker.

A well-to-do family lawyer working with cases involving child protection, Anne finds her morals tested with the arrival of her husband Pierre’s adolescent ‘problem child’, Théo. Kicked out of school for assaulting a teacher, Théo spends his days indulging in the type of hedonistic behaviour that epitomises pure teenage rebellion, chain-smoking and defying his father. Meanwhile, Anne discovers that his presence stirs a desire that oversteps legal and familial boundaries.

Renowned for her uncompromising explorations of female sexuality, Breillat crafts a story about the confluence of temptation and the abuse of power by loosely remaking May el-Toukhy’s Danish drama Queen of Hearts (MIFF 2019). Lingering camerawork and close-ups allow the stellar performances from Drucker (Incredible but True, MIFF 2022; Two of Us, MIFF 2020) and newcomer Samuel Kircher to be coloured in with nuance and tension. Unafraid to be subversive, Breillat’s Cannes-competing drama marks her triumphant – and characteristically bold – comeback.

“Breillat certainly hasn’t pulled back from her vocation to dumbfound the bourgeoisie … Outrage is her weapon. In Last Summer, every shot finds its target.” – Deadline