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Maitresse


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Product Details

  • Actors: Gérard Depardieu, Bulle Ogier, André Rouyer, Nathalie Keryan, Roland Bertin
  • Directors: Barbet Schroeder
  • Writers: Barbet Schroeder, Paul Voujargol
  • Producers: Pierre Andrieux
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: X
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Feb. 3 2004
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000127IFC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,270 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

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Most helpful customer reviews

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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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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By "naughtyclubsahara" on June 15 2004
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Upstairs - Downstairs Mistress... Feb. 3 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Chamber of Commerce July 17 2005
By Vince Perrin - Published on Amazon.com
"Maitresse" may beat upon every body around, but you can't say that Barbet Schroder beats about the bush. The director shows us torture, sadomasochism and sexual humiliation or, if you prefer, the business end of a whip. Many whips are used in this 1973 movie, now a sort of cult classic; The Criterion Collection DVD looks terrific and has a new interview with Schroeder that doesn't pretend to any depth. Almost against our will (perfect!), the movie draws us into its kinky extremities only eventually to lose its way. Among the digressions is a horrific slaughterhouse scene, in which a horse is butchered and eaten, that belongs in another movie entirely.

Bulle Ogler is seen as a blonde beauty in an upscale apartment who earns a lush living as a dominatrix in a downstairs dungeon designed by the Marquis de Sade. Her clients are rich and powerful and so, apparently, is she. That is what attracts a witless would-be burglar who becomes (in turn) her job assistant, live-in lover-protector, and soon an interfering opportunist who definitely is bad for business. He is played by a young Gerard Depardieu, a husky hunk even then. Europeans know how to treat these characters and subjects seriously and with a straight face. There's that to recommend it. There's also a scene in which the "maitresse" (mistress) nails a man's genitals to a block of wood. All in a day's work over there in Paris, France.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Disappointment...Ugh...Not recommended. April 2 2005
By John Muller - Published on Amazon.com
For those of you interested in seeing a delicate and sensitive portrayal of a S/M relationship, I would highly suggest the Japanese film, "Moonlight Whispers" over "Maitresse." That film is a gentle coming-of-age film with male sub/fem dom theme, while "Maitresse" is a somewhat confused film about an ex-con who stumbles into a dungeon and a (highly unlikely) vanilla relationship with a dominitrix.

The ex-con cannot deal with "her career" eventually and threatens her to quit, etc. (At some point, you get the idea that the director himself really doesn't understand where the Domina is coming from.)

What started out as an interesting film with a provacative opening soon falls apart about halfway through. The writer/director seems to lose the narrative thread of the film and things degenerate with the ex-con wanting to buy the dominitrix out from her protection (or pimp, for want of a better word). Then, we watch as the ex-con -- in a totally unrelated and gratuitous foray -- goes to a slaughterhouse, where a real horse is shown killed onscreen, strung up and stabbed and drained of blood as it kicks helplessly (this image will upset you for weeks, believe me! [I feel like it's my duty to WARN YOU!]). And the film gets even worse from there and finally ends up with a ridiculous car accident and the two main characters laughing like idiots. Totally stupid (like the writer/director suddenly ran out of ideas).

Believe me, I really WANTED to like this movie. I ignored the negative reviews, because there are so few "real" films on this subject. But I was sorely disappointed and depressed by it.

If you need to see this film, rent it. It's definitely a "one view" film at best; and it will be a film that will leave you angry (because the horse scene) and vaguely disgusted -- and generally bummed out. Too bad.

"Moonlight Whispers" is a much better, respectful treatment of S/M, a film with real characters and nuance -- one that seeks to explore real psychological (and sexual orientation) questions, while also being a beautiful film to watch. That film deserves to be seen -- and a wider audience!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A delicacy June 15 2004
By "naughtyclubsahara" - Published on Amazon.com
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.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Raw and tender April 10 2005
By Nancy Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not sure if Barbet Schroeder wouldn't have preferred simply making a documentary about S/M rather than enfolding the S/M segments within a rather traditional love story, but I'm glad he chose the latter.

I was never a big fan of Gérard Depardieu, but found him to be wonderfully engaging in his role as Olivier, a young thief content to be kept by a somewhat older, much more industrious working woman, Ariane (played by Bulle Ogier). If this were an American movie, Olivier would be driven crazy by Ariane's profession, but Olivier accepts her job, enjoys the comfortable lifestyle it affords him, and occasionally helps Ariane out on her gigs, with sometimes hilarious results.

The only obstacle thwarting the course of their true love is a mysterious man who calls Ariane on her private line, to whom she pays a good bit of her earnings. Olivier finally takes some bumbling initiative in finding and confronting this man, with mixed results. He doesn't understand what he's getting himself into, because Ariane has not been completely honest with him.

In the end, though, persistence pays off, and Olivier and Ariane end up together, happy, and only slightly damaged.

I highly recommend this to fans of Depardieu and those interested in the career of director Barbet Schroeder. My only disappointment in the DVD is that there is only one special feature, a delightful interview with Schroder.

Warning: this film contains explicit scenes showing S/M sessions featuring cross-dressing, shoe fetishism, nudity, whipping, genital torture and ecstasy. There is also a very distressing scene of animal slaughter which puts the S/M scenes into perspective.


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