HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
   
 
  Romance Sex Is Hell
Year: 1999
Director: Catherine Breillat
Stars: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand, Rocco Siffredi, Reza Habouhossein, Ashley Wanninger, Emma Colberti, Fabien de Jomaron, Pierre Maufront, Antoine Amador, Roman Rouzier, Oliver Bouchette, Emmanuelle N'Guyen, Nadia Latoui
Genre: Drama, Sex, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marie (Caroline Ducey) has been feeling out of sorts lately, and she puts this down to her relationship with her husband Paul (Sagamore Stévenin) who is not finding life with her all that he expected. He did not realise they would be sharing the same bed in their apartment night after night, he thought he would be taking regular breaks from her, and she worries he has almost completely lost interest in her, especially when their sex life has dwindled to practically non-existent. No matter what she tries, she cannot arouse Paul, he simply lies there without a trace of excitement when she makes a move on him each evening, preferring to read his book. What to do?

Catherine Breillat's most famous film, if it's remembered at all, was possibly the most nineteen-nineties French movie of all time, concerning itself with relationships and how they can drift away into emotional disaster, yet also featuring explicit sex scenes and pretty much unhidden intimate body parts galore, though most of them belonged to her leading lady, who put up with a lot for her art. Or was it Breillat's art? She seemed to be operating Ducey like her own personal puppet, manipulating her body as she deemed fit to convey her messages on the subject of love and sex and where the two intersected, and how one could ruin the ardour in the other if you were not careful.

Even if you were careful, the relationships in Romance were so fraught with despair that nothing, from a one night stand to a marriage, could ever work out to either party's satisfaction. Marie certainly wants to give Paul the best chance she can, but he is afflicted by that very French state of mind: ennui, and apparently it is catching since before long she is moping around in an existential fug just as her husband is. This does not bring them together in a shared sympathy at the pointlessness of their lives, far from it, it drives them apart and Marie into the arms of three very different men, one of whom is a quick encounter on the stairs of her apartment block.

That leaves her in tears, but is that because of the degradation of the sex, or is it because she can't get satisfaction? Her first adulterous pal is played by porn star Rocco Siffredi, pointedly cast by Breillat as the kind of stud that Paul, while a handsome model, is assuredly not, making love with Marie for as long as she wants and apparently her ideal mate, except that he is not exactly a terrific conversationalist and fails to engage her intellectually. That's correct, our heroine must find the kind of man who can stimulate her mind as well as her body, and if she cannot find the thinker then the shagger will have to do, as sex is an easy method of blanking out her philosophical crisis, at least for a while until the angst returns and she repeats the process over again. By the conclusion, it seems she can discover her true calling.

Which given her job is schoolteaching, may not be too much of a surprise, it is after all the eventual outcome of sexual intercourse. Mind you, it's not always the recreational aspect that involves straightforward sex, as the main relationship outside of Paul is with Robert (François Berléand), her headmaster who introduces Marie to bondage games, though even that is not without trauma, and is shot in Breillat's typically dispassionate style as if her protagonist's difficulty with attaining and retaining pleasure was supposed to carry over to us watching. This extended to seeing Marie go through a gynaecological examination by medical students who use her to practice on, the starkness of her sexuality laid bare in a manner that verged on the squeamish. We were never allowed to forget that sex had a biological function, and that left the film accused of being anti-erotic; it did not appear to be keen to turn the audience on, that was for sure. But if it was not entertaining, it did make you mull over its themes almost despite itself.

[Second Sight have released this in all its icy glory on Blu-ray, fully restored and with three interviews as extras, including one with the director and another with the star.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 442 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: