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At 30, boyish penniless aristocrat Ryno de Marigny has separated from Villini, a passionate Spaniard and his mistress of 10 years. He's now in love with Hermangarde, a young, wealthy, and titled virgin. Days before the wedding, the bride's grandmother sits Ryno down and insists on knowing if his affair is over. He relates a story of passion, which we see in flashbacks, swearing he loves only Hermangarde. After the wedding, the couple moves to a castle by the sea. And Villini? Can passion survive disgust and self-loathing?Written by
Asia Argento hated working with Catherine Breillat, calling her a sadist and claimed that she was abusive on set. See more »
In one shot, Asia Argento's tailbone tattoo is visible. Although tattoos were known to early 19th century Europeans (in fact, they date back before civilization), it seems improbable that Argento's character, a Spanish lady in France, was meant to have a tattoo in a design like the actress's tattoo. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. I always get a kick out of the French cinematic view of love. Of course, there is always some single person we are meant for ... though endless lovers are expected. Somehow there is a soul mate and we always find that person not matter the pain caused to ourself or others.
Director Catherine Breillat uses the transition of France from the late eighteenth century to the early nineteenth as the setting for this tale of "love" among the French upper crust. A cheap plot device - the ultimate detailed confession - provides the full guts of the story, both background and foreshadow.
What made the film inaccessible for me were both lead actors, especially Asia Argento as Vellini (the last mistress). I just didn't find these people likable, whether together or apart. On the other hand, I did enjoy Michael Lonsdale as de Prony, and his wonderful dialogue and delivery.
Mostly an uneventful couple of hours with no surprise ending at all.
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