| This smoldering romantic adaptation of a scandalous 19th century novel was written and directed by Catherine Breillat, who has had a career-long interest in the ramifications of female desire.
The lead role belongs to Asia Argento, whose unusual face and distinctive features are hard to resist. She is not afraid to bare all and let everything hang out.
She plays La Vellini, an independent woman of Spanish descent. She has carried on a 10-year love affair with Ryno, a younger man who is now engaged to be married to Hermangarde, a young, beautiful and virginal aristocrat.
This costume drama is the equivalent of a soft porn soap opera. It is sexually explicit with extended scenes of copulation. The movie has a feminine point of view and the male lead has androgynous features, especially his eyes and lips.
The movie scores high praise for the elegant costumes, ornate interiors and furnishings, unique hairstyles and the rich texture provided by a musical score of classical and operatic selections.
The movie’s main themes are the thrill of the chase, sexual conquest and the age-old battle of the sexes.
This diverting piece of extravagant escapism should put couples in the mood for pleasure behind closed doors. The dialogue is in French with English subtitles. Opening exclusively at the Leawood.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"