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Romance (1999)

Original Title : Romance
Director : Catherine Breillat
Writer : Catherine Breillat
Genre : Drama
Adult
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Catherine Jacques , Jean-François Lepetit
Music : Raphaël Tidas
DJ Valentin
Photography : Yorgos Arvanitis
MPAA Rating : Rated R for language and strong sexual content including dialogue.
IMDB ID : 0194314
Official site : http://www.atalantafilmes.pt/2000/romance/romancedefault.htm
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poster for "Romance" by Catherine Breillat (1999)
Romance (1999) - Catherine Breillat
 

Starring

Caroline Ducey Marie
Sagamore Stévenin Paul
François Berléand Robert
Rocco Siffredi Paolo
Reza Habouhossein Man on stairs
Ashley Wanninger Ashley
Emma Colberti Charlotte
Fabien de Jomaron Claude
Carla Model
Pierre Maufront Photographer
Antoine Amador Hairdresser
Roman Rouzier Echography technician
Oliver Buchette Head doctor
Emmanuelle N'Guyen Midwife
Nadia Latoui Nurse
Sylvie Drieu Assistant nurse
Samuel Charter Intern
Alexis Gignoux Intern
Muriel Gregoire Intern
Sebastien Jochmans Intern
Emmanuel Salengro Intern
Christian Poitrasson Lone man
 

Plot

Although deeply in love with her boyfriend - and indeed sleeping in the same bed with him - a schoolteacher cannot handle the almost complete lack of intimacy he will allow. Increasingly frustrated, she gradually finds her sexual appetites leading her into ever more risky situations, including a developing one with the headmaster.
 

Comments

An Empty Hole Spoilers herein. This film finds a place amidst the corners of `Last Tango in Paris,' `In the Mood for Love,' `Go Fish,' and `Trois Couleurs: Bleu.' Sex as performance, life as audience of self. In terms of cinematic power, this is somewhat like `The Designated Mourner' in the sense of being a spoken meditation on self. It happens to be illustrated frankly, but to my mind effectively. This has some of the longest shots I can recall. All are narratively from the point of view of Marie. All are of her but also seen through her eyes. The two exceptions are jarring and therefore more shocking than the sex, which I found entirely natural. The first is a fantasy sequence toward the end, a much mentioned brothel/birthing split. The second is the last two minutes with a similarly fantastic and equally imagined death. They seemed Terry Gilliamish and out of place. I simply couldn't comprehend the space. This film has value in the place it defines and the rather insidious writing. It introduces some clever ideas that aren't really ideas, rather anti-ideas. And that's the point. This writing seemed more effective for me in the English subtitles than the English dubbing which was quite different. The subtitles were very much more poetic, if terse. `The son begets the Mother.' `Beauty feeds on degradation.' `There's a hole in your teaching.' `I can't even yield to myself.' There is a live birth here, something else that doesn't fit the carefully constructed abstract mood. But it is so much more powerful than a similar scene (intended for a similar effect in the same context) in Altman's `Dr T and the Women.' This is not great filmmaking, but it is worthwhile writing I think.