4 user 21 critic

Gradiva (C'est Gradiva qui vous appelle) (2006)

An orientalist professor researching Delacroix's North African work becomes entangled in an S&M waking dream in Morocco.

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Walter is told by his boss, Sara, to deliver an urgent letter to Henri de Corinthe. On the way he finds a beautiful woman he had been eying in a nightclub, lying in the road, bound up. He ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Daniel Mesguich, Cyrielle Clair, Daniel Emilfork
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A film director, Jean, his producer, Marc, and his assistant, Lucette, board the Trans-Europ-Express in Paris bound for Antwerp. Once in their compartment it occurs to them that the drama ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Marie-France Pisier, Christian Barbier
L'Immortelle (1963)
Certificate: M Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A sad man meets a beautiful, secretive woman who may or may not be involved in some conspiracy ring dealing in kidnapped women used as prostitutes. After several days of their sadly ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Françoise Brion, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Guido Celano
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Catherine Jourdan, Pierre Zimmer, Richard Leduc
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A group of men hire some prostitutes and go to a villa in the countryside. There, they engage in group sex and resolve to eat themselves to death.

Director: Marco Ferreri
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In a strange chateau, a man insists to a woman that they have met before.

Director: Alain Resnais
Stars: Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoëff
Deliria (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A group of stage actors lock themselves in the theater for a rehearsal of their upcoming musical production, unaware that an escaped psychopath has sneaked into the theater with them.

Director: Michele Soavi
Stars: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An innocent young man witnesses violence breaks out after an isolated village is inflamed by the arrival of a circus and its peculiar attractions, a giant whale and a mysterious man named "The Prince".

Directors: Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky
Stars: Lars Rudolph, Peter Fitz, Hanna Schygulla
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

On the run from pursuing soldiers, a man hides in a small European town.

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Sylvie Bréal, Zuzana Kocúriková
Fantasy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young woman is questioned by the police and the judges, suspected of being a modern witch. The girl who shared her apartment has been found dead, and a pair of scissors impaled through ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Anicée Alvina, Olga Georges-Picot, Michael Lonsdale
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When Carolina (Anicee Alvina), the daughter of wealthy banker Georges de Saxe (Philippe Noiret), is reported kidnapped, it is upsetting to him even though he knows it isn't true. The ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Philippe Noiret, Anicée Alvina
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The Blue Villa is a seedy bordello on a Mediterranean island where the villages are frightened by the ghost-like return of a young man, who mysteriously disappeared after the killing of a young Eurasian woman.

Directors: Dimitri de Clercq, Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Fred Ward, Arielle Dombasle, Charles Tordjman


Cast overview:
John Locke
Leila / Gradiva
Belkis (as Dany Verissimo)
Farid Chopel ...
Lotfi Yahya Jedidi ...
Le mendiant
Marie Espinosa ...
Farida Khelfa ...
Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni ...
Commissaire Madhi
Pascal Judelewicz ...
Le photographe
Asmaa Bouafia ...
Siham Lahkim ...
Hamid Nider ...
Zineb Nijih ...


John Locke is a Brit in Marrakech exploring Delacroix's seminal visit there. He's in an isolated villa with Belkis, his enigmatic servant and concubine. He receives slides of erotic drawings that could be by Delacroix; an antique dealer, who's a doctor and may be a white slave trader, says there are two such sketchbooks. By now, Locke's dreams have become intense: they include sado-masochism with compliant young women and visions of a woman in white, who may be a nineteenth century woman executed for an affair with a Frenchman. She looks like a local actress. Against Belkis's advice, Locke accepts various invitations. Aside from dreams and tableaux, will anything real happen? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 May 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Gradiva  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Features Glissements progressifs du plaisir (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A more personal ARG film, illuminating for fans
11 April 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Here we have a film that should be very intriguing to Alain Robbe-Grillet fans. There is perhaps a tendency of critics and viewers to focus on the more youthful works of directors and abandon the mature canon, Robbe-Grillet falls into this lacuna, alongside Godard, Chabrol, Rivette, Argento, Jancso, Resnais, and Iosseliani. This could be a case of going for style over unvarnished self-expression. Gradiva is less stylistically audacious than Eden and After (both movies have similar geographical themes and settings), but Robbe-Grillet is saying a lot more about the nature of fantasy and love, and actually the nature of censorship, in this film. I think it's even really a very gentle movie despite the extended focus on S&M.

ARG has always been very careful to delineate between reality and on-screen fantasy, but nowhere more so than in this movie, where, as in Trans-Europ-Express, he has a character actually creating the story we are seeing, to stress that, "it's only a movie". This has been a tradition of decadent literature, de Lautréamont for example prefaces Les Chants de Maldoror with the following caveat, "God grant that the reader, emboldened and having become at present as fierce as what he is reading, find, without loss of bearings, his way, his wild and treacherous passage through the desolate swamps of these sombre, poison-soaked pages; for, unless he should bring to his reading a rigorous logic and a sustained mental effort at least as strong as his distrust, the lethal fumes of this book shall dissolve his soul as water does sugar." To me at least, the plot of the movie is quite simple when stepping back. Locke lives with his (apparently indentured) servant Belkis, who is in love with him. At night he hears the faint singing of Gradiva, who can seen as death, or a ghost, or a facilitator of Locke's more extreme fantasies. He leaves Belkis on his shiny Harley (a motif from La Belle Captive) and journeys into the bazaar of Eastern fantasy. It's a simple Bollywood/Hollywood cookie cutter script at heart, there's a man and there's a good girl and a bad girl battling for his heart.

The main character in this movie is John Locke, presumably a reference to the synonymous philosopher whose conception of the self as a continuity of consciousness is a clear touchstone of the movie. He's an Orientalist professor who is interested in tracing the Moroccan adventures of the painter French painter Eugène Delacroix. This also may pique the curiosity of the Eden and After fan who had noticed at the time the influence of Delacroix in certain scenes of that movie (the firedancing by the sea with the Arabian horsemen for example).

Locke shifts through different modes and interstices, fictional, oneiric, uncanny waking, it's often hard to tell. There's an illuminating quote from Leila/Gradiva, "In fact the world of dreams resembles very much the other. It's its exact double, its twin. There are characters, objects, words, fears, pleasures, dramas, but everything is infinitely more violent." There's a Madame Butterfly theme to the movie, some may say the use of the music was a step too far, but Robbe-Grillet was too old to care about such posturing I'm sure.

So I mentioned about censorship at the start. There's a quite stunning moment where it dawned on me that Arielle Dombasle was speaking as Alain Robbe-Grillet, from beyond the grave, on the theme of censorship. She talks about herself as a "comedienne de rêves", by which she is talking about film direction assuredly. She tells a story about having planned a "Sado-Lesbian epic", which was to have starred an underage girl, the girl was enthusiastic, the parents had signed off, everyone was in accord, but the producer was too afraid to do it, can you imagine, he only cared about money ("des sous!", which I presume is a pun?). It sounds a very interesting film, but I think ARG is being a bit quaint, setting the film industry up as something that would be self-policing on the matter of the use of underage nudity.

There are a lot of likable uncanny touches in the movie: at the start of the film Locke is watching a slide projector with a deck of Delacroix paintings of horses. One particularly good one is in sepia and shows a woman dancing whilst holding the bridle of a rearing horse. Locke hears the clip clop of hooves, the dream has become reality, and he looks out the window and sees a horse and female rider outside. Locke's toothache was a slightly nausea-inducing effect which worked well for me. My favourite though is how characters he meets, strangers or otherwise philosophise at him and finish saying, "Didn't you know that John Locke?" I wondered going in to the movie about the chances that it was on a par with Eden and After. My surprised answer is yes, it may even be better. There is an element of juvenilia to Eden and After, I think ARG, who was a mathematics student once, was probably picturing himself as one of the bored dramatic maths students in that movie. Gradiva I felt was a more mature and frank work.

I think that some would be disappointed that the dreams are not presented with the audacity say of the sequences in Tarsem's Cell. However I think that would be over-exuberant for the subject matter. James Wilby as Locke is interesting, I recognise him as a bit part actor from UK TV series, so how he got involved with this is a mystery to me. I would say a lot of people wouldn't quite go for his performance but he is very much meant to be a Candide in this film, so I can quite happily accept what others may look on as naive acting.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Finally available on Netflix and Amazon! Bart-Connelly
Whats with all the sicko violence Bart-Connelly

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: