Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France, 1975. Les Films du Losange, Gaumont. Screenplay by Barbet Schroeder, Paul Voujargol. Cinematography by Nestor Almendros. Produced by Pierre Andrieux. Music by Carlos D’Alessio. Production Design by Roberto Plate. Costume Design by Karl Lagerfeld. Film Editing by Denise de Casabianca.
A country bumpkin (Gerard Depardieu) comes to Paris and does a few gigs as a petty thief with a friend until he unwittingly stumbles into the parlour of a professional dominatrix (Bulle Ogier). He is immediately attracted to her, engaging in a legitimate relationship in her upstairs apartment in between her appointments with her clients in her downstairs lair. Although some scenes are not in any way for the faint of heart (the worst not even involving a human being), it’s surprising that, given the kinky nature of the story, the film is a sexy, romantic, and sometimes even sweet look at domination, submission and pleasure. Ogier is a treat in the lead, fearlessly portraying her character’s cool reserve in her work and romantic abandonment with her boyfriend, while Depardieu does his tough guy with a bleeding heart routine to the very best of his incredible ability.
The Criterion Collection: #223