Published in Paris in 1954, The Story of O was an immediate bestseller and literary scandal: an elegantly written S&M fantasy that had all the hallmarks of being an autobiographical account... See full summary »
Published in Paris in 1954, The Story of O was an immediate bestseller and literary scandal: an elegantly written S&M fantasy that had all the hallmarks of being an autobiographical account by the pseudonymous Pauline Réage. In 1994 Dominique Aury, a mild-mannered, dowdy editor for France's prestigious Gallimard press, revealed her authorship. Pola Rapaport explores Aury's inspiration, recreating the world of '50s literary Paris and setting it against dramatic sequences that bring the infamous book to life. The author and various French intellectuals expound on the thorny relationship between sexuality and power, submission and freedom, liberation and non-being. Even today, The Story of O mystifies in its power and confounds in its contradictions. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
WRITER OF O (dir. Pola Rapaport) In 1954 the scandalous French erotic novel, THE STORY OF O, was published under the pen name Pauline Reage. Many were convinced that it was actually written by a man since the female protagonist voluntarily submits to the sadomasochistic sexual fantasies of numerous men over the course of the novel. The documentary film reveals that literary editor, Anne Desclos (who also used the pseudonym Dominique Aury), was the author, and she wrote the book to prove to her lover, literary critic and publisher Jean Paulhan, that women were quite capable of writing an erotic novel. Sections of the novel are recreated in the documentary, but I have trouble accepting the fact that sadomasochistic and submissive sexual behavior is so popular with women. To have women voluntarily submit to a man's more bizarre sexual wishes and desires seems like the most common male fantasy of all.
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