Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Romance; Erotic drama, France/ Spain, 1999; D: Catherine Breillat, S: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand, Rocco Siffredi

Marie works as a elementary school teacher. But privately she is frustrated with her love life because Paul, her husband, is almost never "active" in bed. Thirsty for some passion, she leaves one night in a bar and meets a stranger and a lover for a one night stand. She also spends a hot night with her older colleague Robert, who claims that beautiful women love ugly men, and with some passer by who offers her 100 Francs. When she becomes pregnant, she finally gets the attention from Paul she always wanted. She gives birth to a son but argues with Paul who dies.

At the end of the 20th Century, three ambitious erotic films showed up in France; "Intimacy", "A Pornographic Affair" and "Romance", but none of them managed to start a new Renaissance of the genre. The bizarre "Romance" is directed by a woman and speaks about a woman, but is actually the weakest of the three mentioned films, just a watchable flick. The exposition promises much since it subtly and quietly speaks about the erotic frustrations of the heroine Marie who even cries (!) because her husband doesn't want to have intercourse with her, while especially funny is the scene where he tells her that he wants her to become pregnant - and she cynically replies with: "How? With the Holly Spirit?" The first intercourse shows up some 25 minutes into the film and shows how a stranger has (anal?) intercourse with the heroine, but it's terribly anemic and not even barely erotic. Actually, there is not even a single decent depiction of intercourse in the entire film since it constantly prolonged the feeling of disgust - the most bizarre scenes are Marie's fantasies, like when she imagines she is a prostitute in a brothel whose lower part of the body is peaking through the wall so random men randomly "take her" - while the ending is a real hassle. Some deeper emotional portrait of the characters is not achieved, thus "Romance" is just a senseless art-film.


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