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Maitresse

Gérard Depardieu , Bulle Ogier , Barbet Schroeder    X (Mature Audiences Only)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 32.99
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Product Description

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Drifter Olivier (Gérard Depardieu) lands in Paris and partners up on a friend's home invasion. Ostensibly they're breaking into the vacant flat of a vacationing old lady, but in reality it's the kinky dungeon of a high-class dominatrix with a powerful client list. The bearish Depardieu falls for the lithe professional, blonde Ariane (Bulle Ogier) in a black bob wig and dressed in tight leather and latex, and soon moves into her handsome flat while she plies her trade downstairs. Barbet Schroeder's kinky little slice of sexual decadence is initially titillating and erotic, but soon turns grotesque. Ariane's clients desire her domination but only as contracted: They control their abuse. The romance becomes a warped mirror of her career, Ariane allowing Olivier the appearance of control as he slides behind the driver's seat of her car, but setting the parameters of his dominance. Easygoing Olivier soon begins to simmer with frustration and jealousy, unable to comprehend her twisted world of sexual deviance, and attempts to "save" her from her lifestyle. Schroeder pushes the portrayal of S&M and bondage to the limits with graphic scenes of pain, torment, and mutilation, presented with a bland detachment that makes them all the more uncomfortable to watch. He brings that same dispassionate attitude to the romance, which results in an uninvolving yet undeniably fascinating story of a quirky affair. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Upstairs - Downstairs Mistress... Feb. 3 2004
Format:DVD
Gérard Depardieu as Olivier enters an apartment in order to rob the place, but unknowingly breaks into a haven for sadomasochistic fantasies. During the burglary he encounters Ariane (Bulle Ogier) who he had met earlier, but this time she is a dominatrix who controls situations as she dives into other people's madness. Ariane is an interesting character that separates her life and her profession as skillfully as do her slaves who consist of lawyers, judges, and other high ranked individuals who seek punishment from her. Her cruel punishment is well molded after her "slave's" desires which consists of all forms of torture and degradation. Olivier is spellbound by Ariane as he falls in love with her, and it leads him into a scorching affair where he is bound to be burnt as he is mystified by Ariane's dark trade. Schroeder's creation of Ariane's dual nature can be seen through her use of a downstairs apartment for her dark fantasies and her upstairs apartment for more accepted desires. In addition, it can also be observed symbolically that the two sides coexists and never are entirely separated as Ariane brings her make-up, clothes, and feelings back upstairs. Maîtresse is an avant-garde film as it explores in-depth the theme of sadomasochistic fantasies and its sub-culture as set in a love story. As a cinematic experience, Maîtresse offers a shocking, for the unaware, experience that tells an intriguing story which imprisons the curiosity.
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3.0 out of 5 stars curiosity Oct. 15 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This film written and directed by Barbet Schroeder is unusual since it presents a world of sadomasochist sex play without any hint of eroticism or exploitation. There is more violence in the faux-Helmut Newton portraits in The Eyes of Laura Mars. A slim and beautiful Gerard Depardieu meets dominatrix Bulle Ogier by chance and begins an affair with her. The parallel between the roles she plays with customers who have dictated the terms of their pleasure, and her relationship with Gerard doesn't quite come off. It's about the same as when Schroeder shows us the slaughter of a horse. Depardieu has told us he used to work in a slaughterhouse and when he happens across one in a drunken stupour, the horror of the killing of the animal can't be equated with Bulle piercing a man's chest and penis. The only similarity is in the same matter-of-fact way Schroeder displays both images. When Bulle has a semi-breakdown midway in the film, my interest was peaked since this showed narrative promise. If enacting these roles had a psychological effect on her, that would reveal more to her character than she has allowed us to see. Bulle comments that she likes the play because it allows her into the intimacy of some people's "madness", she keeps a venus fly trap plant, and has a doberman called Texas. Unfortunately Schroeder has Bulle quickly recover and she returns to her job, thereby reducing her character to a cypher. Therefore Depardieu is the one left to respond. Observing the paraphernalia of s/m can only have a surface interest before you either want to experience the sensation, or you get bored, and it is disappointing that the narrative only extends to his wanting to discover the identity of Bulle's "pimp" as a matter of "control". Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A shocking but moving film experience Feb. 15 2004
By ACS
Format:DVD
In this Barbet Schroeder film, Olivier (Depardieu) burglarizes the apartment of a dominatrix named Ariane (Ogier). After Ariane catches him in the act, the two fall in love and Olivier struggles to accept his girlfriend's bizarre profession. In the uncut Criterion version, some of the torture scenes (which were purportedly filmed using real-life "slaves" of a real-life dominatrix) are truly painful to watch, and are undoubtedly some of the most shocking ever to appear in a non-pornographic movie. Which leads one to ask: Is Maîtresse an artsy exploitation flick disguised as a love story, or simply a love story that makes legitimate use of graphic (and violent) sexual imagery? Either way, the film is moving, provocative, and impossible to forget. Highly recommended.
Four stars out of five.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A delicacy June 15 2004
Format:DVD
The trained viewer will find the approach to this story very refreshing. The Hollywood formulas get very stale and this is no where near a cliche .
The dialogue is natural and intriguing. The characters are played with empathy. This movie is very elegant yet done with a very quiescent sense of realism. This quiescence ,in my opinion, contributes to the feel of the film, but to conventional film viewers it may seem a bit slow at times.
The best feature of this product is actually the interview with Barbet Schroeder the director. He is charming and once you get a taste for his style you will become much more discriminating in your movie critiques.
This item is worth it for collectors, and film connoisseurs.
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