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Romance (1999)

R | | Drama | 14 April 1999 (France)
1:24 | Trailer
Although deeply in love with her boyfriend - and indeed sleeping in the same bed with him - a schoolteacher cannot handle the almost complete lack of intimacy he will allow. Increasingly ... See full summary »


Catherine Breillat


Catherine Breillat (scenario and dialogue)
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Caroline Ducey ... Marie
Sagamore Stévenin ... Paul
François Berléand ... Robert
Rocco Siffredi ... Paolo
Reza Habouhossein Reza Habouhossein ... Man on stairs
Ashley Wanninger Ashley Wanninger ... Ashley
Emma Colberti Emma Colberti ... Charlotte
Fabien de Jomaron Fabien de Jomaron ... Claude
Carla Carla ... Model
Pierre Maufront Pierre Maufront ... Photographer
Antoine Amador Antoine Amador ... Hairdresser
Roman Rouzier Roman Rouzier ... Echography technician
Oliver Buchette Oliver Buchette ... Head doctor (as Olivier Buchette)
Emmanuelle N'Guyen Emmanuelle N'Guyen ... Midwife (as Emmanuelle N'guyen)
Nadia Latoui Nadia Latoui ... Nurse


Although deeply in love with her boyfriend - and indeed sleeping in the same bed with him - a schoolteacher cannot handle the almost complete lack of intimacy he will allow. Increasingly frustrated, she gradually finds her sexual appetites leading her into ever more risky situations, including a developing one with the headmaster. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love is desolate. Romance is temporary. Sex is forever.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and strong sexual content including dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





French | English

Release Date:

14 April 1999 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Romance See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$44,829, 19 September 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The only theatrical release in Alberta (since the current rating system began in 1997) to receive an "A" rating. ("A" is "Adult" and, in every other case, is only applied to hardcore pornography.) See more »


At the end of the movie, Marie feels she'll give birth soon, so she tries to wake up Paul. During this scene she moves in a way which is impossible for a woman in her state of pregnancy. See more »


Marie: People say, a woman is no woman, until she's given birth to a child.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The R-rated video version runs 87 min. See more »


Free your mind and your ass wili follow
Written by George Clinton (as George Clinton Jr)
Performed by Funkadelic
© Copyright Bridgeport Music Inc
Avec l'aimable autorisation de Westbound Records (p) 1970
Heard over the final scenes and end titles
See more »

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User Reviews

The truth about the sex scenes...and why they are there.
28 September 2000 | by SanDiegoSee all my reviews

First and foremost, there has been some comment regarding the final explicit scene regarding oral sex whereas the man's penis is shown to be in the woman's hand not in her mouth. This is a framing device that matches a scene at the beginning of the film whereas we quite clearly and unquestionably see the penis in her mouth (the first so-called "shocker" of the film). Since we can guess that both scenes were shot at the same time we can easily deduce that there was no attempt to fool the audience, what the director wanted us to see is quite literally what we see, and what the actors and director chose to show us. We have determined from the first scene that neither the actor nor the actress mind performing this scene in front of the camera (be mindful, even though her mouth is on the man's penis, there is no actual sex). Quite clearly the FINAL scene was NOT an oral sex scene but merely an erotic stroking of her chin upon the man's penis (a common technique in sensual massage, which tells us that those commenting have had much less experience during their lives than the actors did while filming this movie!). This is an important detail however because it tells us much which happens between these two scenes...and literally the moral of the story. At the beginning of the film we meet Marie, she wants sex, lusts for it, and her mate is unable to match her desire. Her mate seems quite satisfied with the sensual contact, but for one reason or another (never quite clear) sex is something that is not on his agenda. The shock of the audience seeing her pull his penis out and provide oral massage is merely because we have not seen this type of explicit scene in mainstream cinema. In comparison to other scenes in the film it is really quite nothing, and a similar scene at the end would have proven anticlimactic. She spends the rest of the film searching to quench her sexual desires, yet sensuality is something that is not on HER agenda. So she has meaningless sex considering herself just a "hole" until by the end of the film she has experienced all that she is going to experience for a while, returns to her mate, and meets him on his terms, for a night of sensual pleasure...namely the final scene as described above (with penis seen in her hand--yes you were suppose to see it there!)

Do we need to see all the graphic sex scenes that appear throughout the film...including the actors literally having sex (loose definition here...more correctly, penetration)? Maybe the point here is like what Lenny Bruce said about racist and swear words...the more they are used, the less meaning they have. Sex has nothing to do with love and is often violent. I've always thought it strange that in cinema a man can put his mouth on a woman's nipple, but a woman cannot put her mouth on a man's penis. Given the nature and frankness of films during the past thirty years this does not seem such a big deal. I would think if the actors were prepared to do nude love scenes this would not be that much of a stretch. Also, I should make it quite clear this is not a porn film. While the actors are going through the motions there is no indication that any male actor ejaculates into any actress (mouth or otherwise). One of the men Marie meets on her journey is in real life a porn star. He is quite good as an actor and I would not have known he was a porn star based on this film. One of the reasons he was used apparently was because he could hold an erection during a particular scene where Marie helps him put on a condom. Given all the efforts over the past decade to educate about safe sex it is curious this type of scene has not been more popular in other films. It certainly would be an acceptable excuse for directors wishing to add a little sizzle to their film. In this particular case the scene is quite straight forward (no pun intended). Naked man sitting in bed next to naked woman, puts on a condom. They talk a little about condoms and she helps him to smooth out the latex with her hand in a way that is not sensual or lewd, but obviously caring. It is a very nice scene and works quite well. By this time we are not shocked at a woman touching a man's penis (let alone with latex separating skin from skin). Yes, you will see penetrating going on but not much sex. The version I rented had a split second scene of an extra pleasuring himself onto what appeared to be another person and that's about it. There is a scene after the condom scene where the two actors seem to be doing it...but we don't see anything, so I doubt they would go through all that trouble and not show it. Even if they had, it would merely be penetration. Perhaps another reason to hire a porn star is that he could control himself during penetration...and if the actress playing Marie could not, what partner would mind? The question I had was how the actor playing Marie's mate was able NOT to get excited. The actress looking quite lovely in the nude, it would be difficult for most men to control themselves laying so close to her in bed, let alone being pleasured by her (I wish there were out-takes of this film, I'm sure a lot more happened then what was shown on screen). There are some disturbing scenes of violent and experimental sex that make this unsuitable for children, but I would suggest the condom scene be used in sex education classes in high school. Hopefully this will open the door for other films to show sex in healthy and realistic ways.

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