7.1/10
618
5 user 2 critic

The Banned Woman (1997)

La femme défendue (original title)
This movie is foremost distinguished by the use of a subjective camera, and nearly 100 % of the time consists of close-up of Isabelle Carré's face. She is capable of changing her facial ... See full summary »

Director:

Philippe Harel
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Isabelle Carré ... Elle (Muriel)
Philippe Harel Philippe Harel ... Moi (François)
Nathalie Conio Nathalie Conio ... Ma secrétaire
Sophie Niedergang Sophie Niedergang ... Ma femme
Julien Niedergang Julien Niedergang ... Mon fils
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Agnès Akopian Agnès Akopian
Luc Bataini Luc Bataini
Marie-Aline Campet Marie-Aline Campet
Dominique Chevalier Dominique Chevalier
Roland Courtoisier Roland Courtoisier
Christine Davenier Christine Davenier
Jean Deguara Jean Deguara
Henri Desouche Henri Desouche
Sacha Gaubert Sacha Gaubert
Robert Gendreu Robert Gendreu
Edit

Storyline

This movie is foremost distinguished by the use of a subjective camera, and nearly 100 % of the time consists of close-up of Isabelle Carré's face. She is capable of changing her facial mimic so much that she never looks artificial or inappropriate. 39-year-old François meets 22-year-old Muriel, who is a virgin. Several times he invites her to fine restaurants. She agrees that on a certain day they will meet at a hotel and he will see her naked. He promises not to sleep with her at that occasion. He does not keep his promise. She is happy that he didn't. Both continue to be eager for sex. While waiting for the first dish on a luxury restaurant she goes to the men's room and dresses starch naked, while he follows after a few minutes. However, she eventually gets a young boyfriend. She tells him everything. He calls François's wife, who immediately demands a divorce. When François and Muriel meet accidentally in the street, it becomes clear that she feels neither any intent to harm him,... Written by Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

24 September 1997 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

La mujer prohibida See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Dangerously intelligent

Harel's film, not distributed in the United States, is an uncommonly insightful study of an adulterous affair and perhaps the only film to use a First Person POV in a way that's successful as more than merely a conceit.

Harel is an Parisian executive who seduces a woman circa 20 years his junior, and slowly falls in love with her. The film employs a consistent subjective vantage point (we see his face only twice, as a reflection), daring us to identify with this man in an amoral act for which he has little guilt, whereupon we realize how truly likely it is we might find ourselves in this position. It's more than merely tantalizing; it's challenging and remarkably adult, but without ever becoming austere. Isabelle Carré, who plays his interest, is excellent here, almost always in the dead center of an unbroken shot, in which we watch her melt, break, harden, and everything else.

It's fascinating to witness the complete shift of power and control from Harel, initially the dominant pursuant, to Carré, initially the helpless conquest. At the film's end, the viewer is left with a potent impression of adulterous romance not as it occurs in the likes of 'Fatal Attraction,' but as it might occur to him.


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