Director Desiree Akhavan, on One of Her Favourite Ever Films

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“It felt like a film made for me – for my sense of humour and my perspective of sex.” As hotly anticipated new series The Bisexual comes to UK screens, its creator reflects on 2001’s Fat Girl

I first discovered Catherine Breillat’s film Fat Girl (2001) in undergrad, when I overheard my teacher telling someone she’d just seen this horrible film that had really disturbed and upset her. I was really curious so I watched it one night, expecting to fall asleep after one scene, but I was completely sucked in. The film felt genius to me on many different levels. First, the realism of it – it was so slice of life, so what it was to be a young teen girl with a hot sister. Then the absurdity of it – the comedy. Then, by the end, it felt like a fucked up fairytale; it had become a metaphor. It’s hard to articulate, because the film dances through several different genres and tones, and that’s what I love about it – you have to keep up and dance with it. It felt like a film made for me – for my sense of humour and my perspective of sex.”

For the Iranian-American film-maker Desiree Akhavan, sexual interactions are a source of fascination that she explores with unflinching candour. Her debut feature, Appropriate Behaviour (2014), follows a twenty-something, bisexual New Yorker – played by, and loosely based on, Akhavan – as she navigates her way through a painful break-up and one of the funniest threesomes in film history. Akhavan’s current offering, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, tells the story of a lesbian teen sent to a gay-conversion camp to ‘cure’ her same-sex tendencies. Both its titular protagonist (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) and her sexual experiences are depicted with refreshing authenticity. This year has been a busy one for the director: her new TV show, The Bisexual, airs on Channel 4 this autumn.

Hair: Kiyoko Odo at Bryant Artists. Make-up: Jenny Coombs at Streeters London using MAC. Photographic assistant: Phil Hewitt. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Camila Paiva and Georgina Craig. Hair assistant: Tomoaki Usui. Make-up assistant: Kimie Yasiro

This story originally featured in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale internationally now.

The Bisexual will screen on Channel 4 on October 10, 2018.