Marie (Miou-Miou) is a young girl from a working-class family who falls for Gerard (Daniel Duval) before she discovers he is a vicious, sadistic pimp. She is degraded, abused, and beaten ...
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Marie (Miou-Miou) is a young girl from a working-class family who falls for Gerard (Daniel Duval) before she discovers he is a vicious, sadistic pimp. She is degraded, abused, and beaten regularly by Gerard as she is forced into a life of prostitution. Marie later decides she must leave her pimp to regain control of her body, mind, and soul.
Prostitution is a subject that has been ill-treated in film. Either the subject matter is too shocking for prudish censor boards, or the scripts have foundered in sentimentality and silliness. There is the documentary approach: Godard tried it twice in Vivre Sa vie and Two or three things..., with no great success. There are the romantic-surrealist or burlesque approaches: Belle de jour, McCabe and Mrs Miller, Pretty Baby, Whore, Irma La Douce. These films have their partisans, but they don't satisfy me. The violence and squalor of whoring just aren't brought out and made real. This is a trade that can lead to the death (or incapacitation) of the woman who practices it. Daniel Duval is not a director to stand with Bunuel, Malle, Altman or Godard, but at least he understands the grittiness and desperation of the material he is dealing with.
Miou-Miou won the César for Best Actress for her portrayal of Marie-Mage; it is well deserved. She brings out the desperate clinging to her pimp Gérard (excellently played by Duval), and makes real the symbiotic relations between the two. Gérard, for all his creepiness, is really the best thing she has ever seen.
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