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Juan David Restrepo
A common thief (Depardieu) breaks into the house of a professional dominatrix (Ogier), and begins to help her "train" her clients. Though this world is alien to his experience, he finds himself falling in love with her. Eventually he discovers that she does this in order to support her son, and he attempts to help her out of this life, which she is not sure she really wants to leave.Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #223. See more »
The film was rejected for a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC in 1976 and only passed in 1981 after 4 minutes 47 secs of cuts with heavy edits made to a woman being bound and whipped, shots of abrasions after a man is whipped and subsequently probed with a needle between his buttocks, and a scene where a male client has his genitals nailed to a plank of wood and his nipples pierced. The cuts were fully waived for a UK 18 DVD certificate in 2003. See more »
Maîtresse is a typical story of seduction and obsession. The dialog is in French with subtitles. Without an unusual or groundbreaking plot, and not presented as a grand film, it was filmed in the popular style of French films of the time, many of which enjoy enduring popularity today because of their minimalist execution. It simply presents a story in an unpretentious format. It is not too sexually explicit visually, though the theme definitely is.
The director, Barbet Schroder, has evolved into one of the incredible directors of our time. His life is probably more interesting even than most of his fictional characters, and his other films are a short list of some of my favorites.
There is really only one noteworthy element of the film, and it is quite noteworthy. The central character, Ariane (Bulle Ogier), who is reminiscent of Catherine Deneuve, is quite seductive as a dominatrix who avails herself of a fetishist's dream chamber complete with a wardrobe that most people would not believe could have possibly existed when the film was made in 1973. It is the fantastic surprise of the film, and the character is easily 20 years ahead of her time.
Anyone into edgy fashion today would be well advised to enjoy viewing this film and accept a humbling lesson concerning underground esthetic's that existed some 30 years ago. Indeed, this film alone may have helped to popularize modern fetishist, "sadist" or bondage sensibilities, especially in France.
An interesting and odd film, decidedly kinky, and with an ending that makes a brief but incredible prediction of the work, "Crash" by J.G. Ballard, written soon after the film was released- or perhaps coincidentally.
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