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Romance [DVD] [1999]

33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand, Rocco Siffredi, Reza Habouhossein
  • Directors: Catherine Breillat
  • Writers: Catherine Breillat
  • Producers: Catherine Jacques, Jean-François Lepetit
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Disc Distribution
  • DVD Release Date: 10 April 2001
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TYYN
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,629 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Caroline Ducey stars in this erotic French drama written and directed by Catherine Breillat. Schoolteacher Marie (Ducey) is frustrated by her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin)'s refusal to make love to her, and so embarks on a series of random sexual encounters with strangers. Her new lovers include a young Italian, Paolo (Rocco Siffredi), whom she picks up in a bar, and Robert (François Berléand), a superior at school.


Briefly notorious around the time of its release for being just about the most sexually explicit art-house film to be passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Romance is strong stuff, as forebodingly enigmatic as it is confrontational. Schoolteacher Marie (Caroline Ducey) lives with her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin), a vapid male model. When he refuses to have sex with her anymore she seeks out loveless couplings with, among others, an Italian widower (Rocco Siffredi, a porn star in real life) and her headmaster (François Berléand), who introduces her to bondage. Marie's abject, monotonous voiceover tartly undercuts any potential titillation the images might offer (although there'll be no stopping some viewers from watching this with the sound off). With all the careful, neutral-coloured tailoring and immaculately whitened set dressing, it's a bit like a film edition of Elle Interiors as edited by Anaïs Nin. For all that, you have to admire director Catherine Breillat's willingness to take risks--and certainly Romance potentially risks boring as many readers as it shocks others. No less intrepid is Ducey, literally exposing herself in a way few actresses would dare. Whether the film really opens up and interrogates the nature of female sexuality, Breillat's stated aim, is debatable, but there's no doubting the film's visceral impact.--Leslie Felperin

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By robertsmike on 3 Dec. 2006
Format: VHS Tape
Probably the most sexually explicit film released in British cinemas at the time, this though is very much an "art film .

Described by Jonathan Ross as " in just one word...Magnifique", it's certainly very daring, and Caroline Ducey gives a tremendous (and tremendously brave) performance as a young Frenchwoman who although living with (and still in love with )her boyfriend feels compelled to seek out sexual gratifiction with other people, no matter how sordid or empty the encounter is.

My only real problem with it is that it's very introspective and if i'm honest a little bit pretentious, especially in the fantasy sequence. But then maybe that's the point director Catherine Breillat (A Ma Souer, Anatomy Of Hell) intended.

Having seen several of her films, i have to say the one i enjoyed the most was Sex Is Comedy, mainly because it's about film-making and the problems a director faces when making films with sexual content.

Ultimately it's a film which will divide virtually any audience, ..see it and decide for youself.
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Mar. 2003
Format: DVD
this is a very interesting film. for once a woman's sexuality is explored, where we would usually expect the male perspective. whatever her motives may be for her relationship or her infidelity, they are not clearly articulated, and we are left to reflect on them - we are introduced to her and her unfulfilling relationship, then to a succession of lovers, each of whom provoke different questions about relationships, sexuality and how men view women.
the artistic aspect of the film is prominent, using elements from western art to illustrate the image of women in mainstream cinema. the interiors of the various apartments are very symbolic, particularly the artwork displayed in the s&m enthusiast's flat.
where this film breaks down for many viewers is in the explicit sex scenes filmed in an impartial, objective way. the lack of eroticism may be a disappointment to those viewers who expected a slice of intellectual porn, but for many people it provides a welcome change from representations of women as objects which exist to fulfil men's sexual desire.
i thoroughly recommend this film, if only because i am still thinking about it a month or so after seeing it - that kind of thought-provoking cinema happens only very rarely.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By DTOCKS on 15 Sept. 2003
Format: DVD
Romance is a shocking yet compelling view, which covers the insatiable sexual appetite of French schoolteacher Marie (Caroline Ducey) following the refusal of her boyfriend (Sagamore Stevenin) to continue with a physical relationship.
Catherine Breillat (Director) certainly showed positive strength in regards to exploring new avenues within the film industry when trying to portray everyday life.
The film is more Art House Porn than Film Noir due to its very aggressive portrayal of sex and following and may I seem surprised its approval by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) despite its very explicit sex scenes of which the only way I can describe in clean text is that you actually see it going in. I can only say that at the time of its release French film directors were at the forefront of modern/alternative film production and I’m sure there are many more out there like it.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By B K JACKSON on 3 Feb. 2001
Format: DVD
The train of thought in this film seems to be about how the main character punishes herself and allows herself to be taken advantage of without taking any responsibility for her situation. her fiance is incredibly vain and holds her in contempt. The unbelievable aspect of this film is she seems to have no supportive friends who can tell her what they think (being lectured to and whipped is hardly supportive). The events in the film are about what we imagine when we feel stuck in a situation which we can't get out of, an escape from her realities with a self destructive edge. When in reality she might have shouted at him a bit and left him if nothing changed. If the sex scenes weren't so strong we'd only have a weak storyline remaining.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD
This is a very good, very French film. From the reviews, it seems to have confused a great many people: not only are the protagonists bizaarely unfathomable, but the young lady maintains this unbearably insipid dialogue going about what she is experiencing and why, a kind of cheesy left-bank philosophy that . However, these things should not be taken at face value, in my opinion, but as ironic view into the characters: they are indeed lost idiots, clueless about how to live their lives without inflicting cruelties on anyone close to them, and thinking way too much in the self-important manner of dim-witted narcissists. Those are the characters involved.

The plot involves the retaliation of a pretty young woman against her boyfriend. For whatever reason, he has lost all sexual interest in her and is abruptly cruel while openly flirting with other women. She observes this in a heartbroken way, continually trying to seduce him - all graphically acted out - and yet she cannot bring herself to leave him. This is odd because there is absolutely nothing interesting about him (or her for that matter), there is no emotion or warmth on display from either of them, and the passion if it ever existed is long dead. So instead of leaving him, she decides to get even by seeking a series of ever more degrading sexual encounters. It is horribly explicit.

This is not pornography because it is not meant to titillate. The girl is sullen and blank in every one of the situations, never showing the slightest pleasure or interest in her partners. Indeed, the only pleasure she shows is a fit of despairing auto-satisfaction, all the time describing to herself what she is feeling in a detached and idiotic voice, without real insight. It is genuinely awful, a kind of static emptiness.
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