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Augustine [Blu-ray]

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In Belle Epoque Paris, 19-year-old kitchen maid Augustine suffers an inexplicable seizure that leaves her partially paralyzed and is shipped off to an all-female psychiatric hospital specializing in the then-fashionable ailment of 'hysteria'. Augustine captures the attention of renowned neurologist Dr. Charcot (Vincent Lindon) after she has another attack that appears to give her intense physical pleasure. Intrigued, he begins using her as his principal subject, hypnotizing her in front of his fellow doctors. As Augustine displays her spectacular fits in lecture halls, the lines between doctor and patient become blurred, radically impacting the course of both of their lives. Based on a true story, this darkly sensual romantic drama chronicles one woman's sexual awakening against the backdrop of neo-Victorian psychology and social repression.

Special Features

Special Features:
-Hysteria Gallery: Photography from the Salpetriee
-Interview with Director Alice Winocour
-Q&A with Soro
-Two Music Videos by Soro
-Kitchen & Magic Paris - Two Films by Alice Winocour

Product Details

  • Actors: Soko, Vincent Lindon
  • Directors: Alice Winocour
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D4Q1UYM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,547 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on August 4, 2013
Format: DVD
In the opening scene, 19-year old servant Augustine (French pop star Soko) has a violent seizure at a high society banquet. The onlookers have no idea what they are seeing or what to do about it, except throw water on her. When Augustine awakens, she cannot open her left eye and so she is shipped off to a posh clinic (that looks more like a chateau than a hospital) in the countryside to be treated by Dr. Charcot (Vincent Lindon) who specializes in female hysteria. We have no idea who decided to send her there, or who is paying for this extravagant and controversial treatment, nor do we ever learn. What we do learn very early on is that director Alice Winocour is uninterested in such details but is very interested in the fact that the doctor's profession is a compromised one as the doctor must continually market his research/work to potential backers, and an essentail part of this marketing involves treating his profession as a form of theatre and staging/inducing hysterical fits (which look like fits of female self-pleasure) in his female patients for his male onlookers curiosity/enjoyment/amusement. This is obviously the part of this history (based on actual characters and true-life events) that Winocour finds facinating but she fails to find much there that offers us much in the way of insight into male or female psychology. Yes, the doctor is interested in Augustine not just because she suffers from a peculiar form of female hysteria but because she is an attractive sufferer but this will not surprise anyone (living then or now). Yes, there is sexual tension between doctor and patient but this too will not surprise anyone. In fact, nothing about this story is surprising or unexpected. And that is a problem.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In "Augustine" (from 2012 and directed by Alice Winocour), Stéphanie Sokolinski (aka Soko) in the title-role, is a woman in late 19th century Paris, who suffers from involuntary seizures. She is taken to the Salpêtrière (a specialized medical center), where neurologist 'Jean-Martin Charcot' (Vincent Lindon) takes a special interest in her. After having been examined by 'Charcot', she is diagnosed as having---'ovarian hysterics' (only very wise old-men, could have come up with such a misogynistic-sounding ailment!!), and is shortly thereafter exhibited (like the subject of a lab experiment) to a select panel of "learned men", where they can observe her symptoms up-close (and believe me, they certainly do). It almost seemed like they were enjoying themselves, while this poor girl was in the middle of her attacks (these "men of Science" even applauded, after the spectacle was over). Anyway, I'm not going to summarize the story any further.

The real meaning/significance of this film: for me anyway (which is based on real-life events), and of this brave and sensitive young-woman---"Augustine" is about the emancipation of women! Emancipation from the wicked and archaic medical establishment, emancipation from the Church and religious bigotry, emancipation from sociopolitical persecution, emancipation from this infernal male-dominated society, emancipation from hypocrisy, etc., etc. I think I made my point! I have to say Soko was excellent in the title-role, she really brought out this young-woman's pain and need for---compassion, kindness, and most of all---Love. Her acting was completely natural and even during the few nude scenes she had, she was completely at ease.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Not enough historical depth not to mention psychological verity. Instead, this film settled for a sexualized account of a historical psychologist and a patient.
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Format: DVD
Well worth watching to observe women who have been abused in the past and then are re-abused by the 'doctors' trying to 'cure' them. For further understanding of this subject see: Women and Madness, by Phyllis Chessler, Assault on Truth by Jeffrey Masson and anything by Alice Miller (European Psychoanalyst). The abuse of women has a long history and we all need to understand it better.
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Format: DVD
This entry from France (English captions) to the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival is by turn, horrifying, informative, funny and sad. Written and directed by Alice Winocour, I wasn't sure if this had any real basis in fact. Reminded of "Hysteria" released in June of 2012, which named real people treating the same "ailment" in 19th century England, I wondered if this too, was equally grounded. Happily, I found plenty of evidence that it is based on real people. Unfortunately, the barbaric equipment they used in their "treatments" is also based on fact. That is the horrifying part!

We watch:
* Vincent Lindon ("La moustache") is wonderful as Professeur Jean-Martin Charcot, whose well-documented treatments for hysteria were conducted at Salpêtrière School. The young women who were his patients had almost epileptic spasms, cut themselves and were otherwise self abusive. The professor was a dedicated ethical man, but he WAS a man....
* Soko ("Friends from France") is our eponymous heroine, a serving maid in a prominent home who falls down in a terrifying fit, and awakens to find her right eye is paralyzed and closed. She is sent to Salpêtrière where her treatments begin. The patients there are expected to earn their keep, so she is working with the poultry when a cook beheads a hen. She has another fit, only to discover that now her eye works but the ailment has traveled to another part of her body. And so it goes...
* Chiara Mastroianni ("Persepolis" voice) is the professor's wife, Constance. She seems to suspect that some of her husband's young female patients might find a cure for their hysteria in his well-tailored trousers. (I began to suspect the same thing!
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