Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Original title: Le Pornographe
France/Canada, 2001. Haut et Court, In Extremis Images, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Centre National de la Cinématographie, , Téléfilm Canada. Screenplay by Bertrand Bonello. Cinematography by Josee Deshaies. Produced by Carole Scotta. Music by Bertrand Bonello, Laurie Markovitch. Production Design by Romain Denis. Costume Design by Romane Bohringer. Film Editing by Fabrice Rouaud.
Sordid affair that tries to tell a respectable tale about the racy world of pornographic filmmaking. Jean-Pierre Léaud is great as a world-weary director of porn who has reached the end of his career and is looking forward to making his final film and retiring with his wife (Dominique Blanc). Once filming commences, he realizes that he can hardly work any more from the emotional fatigue he has suffered, and his ideas of how to film the various scenes he has written become more and more outrageous, much to the chagrin of the frugal producers. Meanwhile, he reconnects with his son (Jérémie Renier) and tries his best to be forgiven for their muddied past. While it intelligently reveals that a life spent on so shallow an enterprise leaves a man with a hollowed-out soul, the film itself is a hollow affair and doesn’t give much to the viewer to hang onto. The graphic sex scenes will remind viewers of other French filmmakers like Catherine Breillat, who have taken to filming real sexual intercourse in the pursuit of something genuine and have come up with very little that is actually enlightening. Here that might actually be the point, but it isn’t a point worth the time it takes to watch the film. Beautifully acted, especially everything between the father and son, but nothing special.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2001