Romance (1999)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB

France, 1999.  Flach Film, CB Films, Arte France Cinéma, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Procirep, Canal+.  Screenplay by Catherine Breillat. Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Ridiculous French drama made a splash in North American theatres for its graphic sexuality (the actors are really doing it onscreen) and frontal nudity (male erections front and centre). However, the story is so flat and dull that the thrill of its naughtiness will wear off quickly enough. gives a boring performance as a boring woman who is tired of her boyfriend’s not wanting to satisfying her sexual desires. To appease herself she makes herself available to absolutely every male who comes within her cross-hairs, even allowing strangers to perform oral sex on her in public staircases. Director Catherine Breillat’s aim in making such a racy film is supposedly to capture an honesty about sexuality on film (she went so far as to hire European porn star for a supporting role), but the dialogue is so ridiculously unbelievable (“I just want to be a gash for men to fill”) and the characters so flat that it’s about as credible as Exit To Eden. Furthermore, her making the lead character such a broadly written, unspecific person feels like a judgment on all women; a similarly shocking film like La Pianiste, which dealt with masochism and gender politics two years later, was too personal to feel like anything but a story about a specific person. Rent this one only if you’re curious enough.

Toronto International Film Festival:  1999

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