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The beautiful O is taken by her boyfriend, Rene, to a bizarre retreat, where she is trained in bondage and sexual perversion. Rene discharges a personal debt by transferring possession of O to his step-brother, Sir Stephen... Written by
Just Jaeckin's film version of the celebrated novel by Pauline Reage manages to completely miss the point of her work (by changing the ending, specifically), but taken purely as a movie has a certain amount of interest.
Corrine Clery plays 'O', a photographer who is taken by her boyfriend Rene (Udo Kier) to a sado-masochistic den where she willingly submits to physical and sexual abuse. 'O's motivation was much more obvious within the novel, but here it is secondary to the titallating spectacle of soft porn. Clery is not really the ideal 'O', either, her looks being too idealistic and her acting just too bad.
After a spell in the academy which serves to turn her into a total submissive she is practically sold on to Sir Stephen (50s pin-up Anthony Steel, of all people!) who is even more depraved and dominating than anyone else she has met. Perhaps the strongest sections of the film concern 'O's relationship with Sir S, but I wasn't convinced by the changed ending (powerful though it was from a movie standpoint). The cinematography is also attractive, particularly in its use of colour, and the French language version adds a certain mystique to the story.
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