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Stanislas Hassler blazes the development of modern art in his gallery, packed with works of surprising shapes, colours and textures, and where exhibitions turn into media events. Gilbert Moreau is one of the artists whose sculptures are on display in the gallery. His wife, Josée, is intrigued by the stern Stanislas, who devotes his free time to photography in an apartment that highlights his sophisticated artistic tastes. But besides enlarged pictures of calligraphic samples, Stanislas is amassing a collection of photographs that reveal a disturbed character. So why would Josée endanger her mature relationship with Gilbert for the morbid observation of Stanislas's hidden personality? Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
La Prisonniere tells the story of Stan, a man fascinated by the concept of submission and his experimentation with his own capacity to dominate. He manifests this fascination through photographing women as he instructs them to undress. When the rather conservative Jose decides she would like to pose for him she finds herself caught in a tormenting struggle between the shame and the pleasure she experiences through the act of submission. Here the film analyses the relationship between voyeur and 'viewed', which at first is hindered by her fear and instinctive prudence but later softens into mutual respect and affection. From the outset women are portrayed as sexual objects as Stan fingers his naked dolls in the opening credits in the same way as he poses his models, as if inanimate. However the images of naked women seen throughout, as well as Stan's treatment of his models, are essentially respectful and adoring rather than degrading. The extended motif of repetition, presented in the pattern and movement of the artwork, reflections in mirrors and the process of reproduction suggested by the photos and the printing press, emulate the intensity and invasiveness of Stans voyeurism. At the same time the optical illusions, played on the the gallery scenes, coupled with their emotive sound effects seem to hint at Jose's mental and emotional confusion towards her role as the servile model. The character of Stan is overtly sexual in his masculinity, authority and seemingly in his mere presence as he appears to cause Maguy to climax during her photo shoot. While he is tender and genuine in his love for Jose, he remains dominant and in control by not letting on to her. I found this film beautiful to watch despite its disturbing subject matter and I believe it is an emotive representation of how women can be tortured as well as gratified through both their sexual oppression and freedom.
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