The 35-hour work week has all of France in its thrall. This film turns it into a feature about economic and familial politics. Frank, a business school graduate, returns to his provincial ... See full summary »
In December of 1999, François organizes a retreat to a small island for himself, some friends, and their children to avoid the craziness of Paris during the turn of the millennium. Things ... See full summary »
On the beaches of Kenya they're known as "Sugar Mamas" -- European women who seek out African boys selling love to earn a living. Teresa, a fifty-year-old Austrian and mother of a daughter ... See full summary »
Haiti, late 1970's. Sea, sex and sun for Ellen, Brenda and Sue, three North American ladies, on the wrong side of forty or fifty-odd, going through an enchanted interlude. Lonely, forsaken, neglected by men in their native countries, they can indulge here in carnal exultation without shame, thanks to handsome local young men they pay a few dollars. Ellen is a Boston French literature professor, Brenda, an unfulfilled wife from Savannah, Georgia and Sue, a sexually frustrated but good-natured Canadian factory worker. In this second garden of Eden they don't care too much about the neighboring poverty nor about Baby Doc's violent dictatorship. The trouble is that that two of the three women have sights on a single man, Legba. And Legba is beginning to be fed up with being a stud... Written by
Part of the film was to be shot in Haiti but only one week's filming took place because political events prevented the crew from staying longer. The rest of the film was shot in the Dominican Republic, in neighboring Santo Domingo. See more »
When Brenda is desperately looking for Legba and she wanders around the village at night, one of the guys she crosses by is wearing a Larry Johnson NBA New York Knicks basketball jacket with number 2. Larry Johnson played for the Knicks in the mid '90s. See more »
[recalling her first time with Legba]
We were both lying in our bathing suits on a big rock, basking in the sun. His body fascinated me. Long, lithe, muscular, his skin glistened. I couldn't take my eyes off him. And the later it got, the more I was losing my mind. He was, he was lying there beside me, his eyes were shut. I remember every move I made, as if it was yesterday. I edged my hand over and placed it on his chest. Legba opened his eyes and immediately closed them again. That encouraged ...
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Sex tourism is not a pretty subject, even where, as here, the tourists are attractive middle-aged North American women who have gone to Haiti for some R & R. As the film is based on three short stories by Dany Laferrière, a Haitian writer, we get the Haitian point of view, and not surprisingly at least one local, Albert the hotel manager (Lys Ambroise), does not like what is going on, even though his business depends on it. The gigolos themselves are rather more relaxed, though they have to cope with jealousies between customers and the problem of customers who fall in love with them. However, this is the Haiti of the late 70s, when the dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier was in power. Hence an air of menace lies over proceedings it may be tropical, but Haiti is no paradise. In fact, this is rather a grim movie.
Proceedings are a little slow, the director Laurent Cantent being addicted to long, static shots, and there is not much in the way of erotic scenes. The resort is not a luxury one, these are not wealthy guests, but the women can buy what they want here. Ellen, the Queen Bee, is outwardly unsentimental about it all but she too becomes emotionally involved with her beach boy. Charlotte Rampling, the vixen for all seasons, plays Ellen with both sensitivity and panache, while Karen Young does a wonderfully self-centred Rachel. She falls in love with the charming Legba (Menthony Cesar), with whom she experienced her first orgasm, at the age of 45, but of course it is a hopeless passion.
I came out with mixed feelings about this film's message. One the one hand, the women are exploiting the young Haitian men, on the other the women are vulnerable and lonely, and non-violent. I'm not at all sure that either side is damaged by the contact, and one of the relationships, between the French Canadian Sue (Louise Portal) and her rather older "boy" seems to be a perfectly healthy one with no illusions on either side. Obviously there are risks for the women (falling in love with the gigolo seems to be the major one) but are they not entitled to some emotional adventure even in staid middle age?
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