6.7/10
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House of Tolerance (2011)

L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close) (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 25 November 2011 (USA)
At an elegant Parisian bordello at the dawn of the 20th century, exists a cloistered world of pleasure, pain, hope, rivalries, and most of all, slavery.

Director:

Bertrand Bonello

Writer:

Bertrand Bonello (scenario)
4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Noémie Lvovsky ... Marie-France
Hafsia Herzi ... Samira
Céline Sallette ... Clotilde
Jasmine Trinca ... Julie
Adèle Haenel ... Léa
Alice Barnole ... Madeleine
Iliana Zabeth ... Pauline
Pauline Jacquard
Judith Lou Lévy ... (as Judith Lou Levy)
Anaïs Thomas
Maia Sandoz ... (as Maïa Sandoz)
Joanna Grudzinska
Esther Garrel
Xavier Beauvois
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
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Storyline

Life in an elegant Parisian brothel in the early twentieth century. The madam essentially owns the women: their expenses exceed earnings, they are in debt. They face problems of pregnancy, opium, age, and violent clients. One reads sociology at her peril. Occasionally, a client talks of marriage. There are also friendships and affection among the women. The madam is in a dispute with her landlord and calls on influential clients to help. There's a picnic one summer day, a wake, and an evening in masks. Have they expectations? In a coda, we watch a street scene in contemporary Paris. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An Aesthetic Shock.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The casting says "Clotilde" but her name is misspelled (as "Clothilde", rather a common error in France) in the movie when we see the lines of name/debt written by the matron. See more »

Goofs

A character says he's been to the inauguration ceremony of the Paris Metro. After that there is a scene where we hear fireworks for Bastille Day (14 July). The opening of the Paris Metro (Line 1) was on 19 July 1900, five days after Bastille Day. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.23 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Plaisir d'amour
by Bertrand Bonello and Eloïse Decazes
See more »

User Reviews

 
Historically Accurate Portrayal of Legalized Prostitution
4 May 2014 | by VickiHopkinsSee all my reviews

This movie is a graphically shocking film about prostitution in France in a mansion of tolerance. It's French ("L'Apollonide") with English sub-titles.

Having researched heavily on this subject for one of my own works, I found it to be an eye-opening film. It's an intimate look behind the closed doors of a house of pleasure focusing on the lives of its mistress, prostitutes, and patrons.

It covers such aspects as registering as prostitutes with the Bureau of Morales, being indebted to mistresses and unable to leave their employ because of it, champagne baths with customers, selection parlors, global fashions worn by prostitutes, opulent client bedrooms, and the regulated visits by the physician examining the workers every 15 days for sign of sexually transmitted disease.

The movie contains naked women, sexually explicit scenes, and is not for the prudish or faint of heart. There are scenes of abuse of one of the girls, which may be disturbing to viewers. It delves honestly into the reality of life as a French prostitute, focusing on the sad and hopeless plight of women in brothels. The particular establishment depicted in this movie catered to aristocrats and rich businessmen, much like the Chabanais, which was one of the well-known brothels of its day.

The movie is two hours, slow moving, and not the best flick you'll ever see. Most of the sexual scenes show the men enjoying their paid visits, while the women merely go through the motions void of emotion. As troubling as the scenes were, I found myself transported into the world I researched and came away shocked at seeing the reality portrayed on screen.

Let's face it, being a prostitute wasn't glamorous. It was a profession that many poor and unskilled women chose in order to survive. It was a dangerous job where women died of syphilis, lived lives with no hope, and sold their bodies in order to eat and have housing. It portrayed a society that found pleasure in sex, living a way of life where brothels were an acceptable form of male entertainment until they were abolished in the early 20th century.

If historical films interest you on all levels, I can attest that this one hits the mark in every way. Being a French film, it adequately portrays the heyday of legalized prostitution.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

25 November 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House of Tolerance See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,766, 27 November 2011

Gross USA:

$19,327

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,389,920
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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