(out of 5)
Catherine McCormack is wonderful in this true story of a Venetian courtesan who survives religious intolerance, a whole bevy of jealous lovers and one mother of a plague to live an independent life of her own design. Jacqueline Bisset has a terrific supporting role as her mother and chief ‘how-to’ coach, and the film makes sure to keep its audience constantly aware of the society these women lived in: courtesans in 17th-century Venice were the only women allowed into libraries and were extremely well educated, and if they did their job right they could live to be rich old ladies. The costumes are divinely plush and all the performers give it their all.
Directed by Marshall Herskovitz
Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli
Music by George Fenton
Production Design by Norman Garwood
Costume Design by Gabriella Pescucci