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Romance [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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To gain control of her life, a young woman embarks on a provocative, erotic adventure that breaks the boundaries of traditional sexual limitations. Her escalating sexual journey tests her own physical and emotional limits, and, through an ironic twist-of-fate, eventually leads her to fulfillment.
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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.
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.
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.
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. Another artful twist is the long, unexplained sequences, when the viewer must guess what is happening. They don't make sense and are not tied off as you would expect in a hollywood film; this creates gaps that the viewer must fill in, must work to interpret. That too is a trait of many good French films.
I enjoyed this on re-viewing, even if it is sad and cruel. It is deep psychodrama that should not be taken at face value. Recommended.
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Some emotional bits here and there , but this could have been better as with many films.
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