Directed by Alice Winocour • Drama • With Vincent Lindon, Soko, Chiara Mastroianni • 2013 • 102 minutes
The powerful and darkly sensual drama Augustine is based on the true story of the unusual relationship that developed between Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, the pioneering 19th century French neurologist and mentor to Sigmund Freud, and his star teenage patient. 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. Chronicling one woman’s sexual awakening against the backdrop of Victorian psychology and social repression, director Alice Winocour’s auspicious feature film debut stars 27 year-old French recording artist Soko in a breakout performance, Vincent Lindon (Mademoiselle Chambon), and Chiara Mastroianni (Prêt-à-Porter, Nowhere).