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Ma Mere [2005] [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, Emma de Caunes, Joana Preiss, Jean-Baptiste Montagut
  • Directors: Christophe Honoré
  • Writers: Christophe Honoré, Georges Bataille
  • Producers: Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Dimitri de Clercq, Gabriele Kranzelbinder, Paulo Branco
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Revolver Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 25 April 2005
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007X9T48
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,013 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

When 17 year-old Pierre (Louis Garrel – The Dreamers) heads off to spend the summer holidays with his parents on the Canary Islands, a series of dramatic events throws his world into chaos and leaves his life changed forever.

With the tragic death of his father, Pierre is left alone for the first time with his mother Helene (Isabelle Huppert - I Heart Huckabees) who, along with her gang of femme fatales, draws her son into a dangerous world of sexual transgression, illicit desire and taboo-busting libertinism.

Truly one of the great new directors of our time, Honoré handles this gripping, controversial, steamy and moving film with a passion and precision of execution that is second to none. Ma Mere crashes through the boundaries of social acceptability and creates its own world on the other side.


‘Huppert is absolutely compelling and unnerving’ -- The Independent

‘disconcerting, but fascinating..this is Huppert at her best’ -- The Times

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thalia on 13 May 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Beautiful but disturbing is all I can say really. A film that covers all sorts of perversions, though mainly the sado-masochistic kind. I bought this film purely because of my obsession with Louis Garrel, not really knowing what the film was about but I'm glad I watched it, it took me a while to decide how I felt about it, It lingered in my mind for days and I think if a film can leave that much of an impression on you then it must be worth watching.
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149 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 9 July 2005
Format: DVD
A film which, like "Emmanuelle" (1974), features beautiful people in sultry settings, challenging the proscriptions of social mores, "Ma Mère" differs in its narrative sophistication and intellectual arrogance. Isabelle Huppert plays a mother, perhaps past her prime, but still beautiful, elegant, eminently desirable, and sufficiently rich to be bored with the need to concern herself with life's trivia.
Her adulterous husband dies, her son (Louis Garrel) returns from boarding school. They inhabit a lotus eating world in the Canaries. Huppert tires of her sexual experimentation with her own mistress and becomes consumed with desire for her boy. She begins by allowing other women to seduce him, coyly watching, gradually being drawn in to more physical contact.
It's beautifully filmed, beautifully performed - Isabelle Huppert is outstanding in pretty much anything she does - but you're left wondering what was the point. In fact you find yourself fast forwarding past the sex scenes in frantic search of a story or meaning. Given the quality of the production, you wonder why these resources were squandered on a pretentious shocker and not on the making of a film with real significance.
Director Christophe Honore has been compared to Catherine Breillat, but "Ma Mère" is a superficial effort to push the boundaries compared to the humanistic sophistication of Breillat. If this is an attempt to demonstrate that Western consumerism and wealth have sanitised us to emotion and feeling, cast us adrift in an anomic state desperate for both meaning and sensation, then it might have been better to explore the themes by setting the story in a run-down tenement block, making the poverty of consumerism that more emphatic. As it stands, "Ma Mère" has its moments, but moves with too turgid a pace to fully engage your sympathy, your attention, or your willingness to believe that it has any significance in exploring human interaction and relationships.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R Robertson on 15 May 2011
Format: DVD
I'm a big fan of Isabelle Huppert - but this not her finest hour.

There are multiple problems with this film, but the dominant one (pun intended!) is motivation. Or total lack of. Characters just do things without the screenwriter or director telling us why; there is no psychological insight. In some films / situations this wouldn't matter but given the highly perverse nature of the 'action' this is a serious omission. So what might have been erotic or challenging simply becomes bizarre - or worse - deeply unpleasant to watch because we have no idea why the characters are behaving as they do. If a mother has an incestuous relationship with her son, the least I feel I'm owed is some kind of explanation!

I'm sure the film is meant to be a metaphor for something or an existential exploration of sexual mores but in this it fails too. Instead I felt it was indulgent and obscure with a big dollop of pretension. The Happy Together scene at the end might have been comic if I wasn't so thoroughly distasteful.

Despite these criticisms, the one positive is the wonderful Ms Huppert. Even with this poor material she totally dominates the screen (pun again intended) with her unassuming but potent charisma. The film is even poorer when she vanishes in the middle act with Rea. Instead of this film, I would recommend you see either Violette or the Piano Teacher - much more interesting and satisfying movies.
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78 of 90 people found the following review helpful By James the King on 13 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD
Firstly, let me make it perfectly clear that, unlike 9 out of 10 negative reviews I have read for this atrocity, my objection to the film is not a moral one.

Undoubtedly, you have read dozens of comments about how this is an amoral, pernicious insult to human decency. The crux of this review is to say that this would be to give the film far too much credit.

'Ma Mere' just smacks of this self-conscious effort to be disturbing, to be offensive, to be shocking. It failed to disturb, offend or shock me, for the simple reason that I could not find any reason whatsoever for anything that happened in this film.

In a nutshell, Louis Garrel discovers that his father was a philandering scumbag. Daddy then dies, and little Louis finds out that his mother is basically a hooker. He doesn't really seem the least bit perturbed by this, and happily goes off with Mummy to indulge in the same debauchery as she does. She treats him appallingly, her "friends" treat him appallingly, yet - for reasons known only to screenwriter, director and pretentious twit extraordinaire Christophe Honore - he still hangs out with them all. What, pray tell, is the point of the film? That the human condition is foulsome, depressing, self-destructive and disgusting? Well, duh!

As I have said, this film seems to go out of its way to be offensive, under the guise of a film that is merely observing offensive people. I watched the film on DVD and was particularly amused by Honore and the formerly lovely Emma de Caunes trying to convince me in a supplementary interview that "none of the sex is gratuitous" and that "every sex scene serves a purpose". Give me a break! 'Last Tango in Paris' (which, for the record, I think is a stunning film) had a point, but this!?!
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