Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"But I still thought it might be seen as progressive in America, especially because its rare confluence of cinematic taste, literary intelligence, and hard-core sex might undercut the crippling puritanism of our movie codes, which usually equate eroticism with porn, sleaze, and stupidity rather than, say, art, health, and intelligence."
-Jonathan Rosenbaum, CHICAGO READER

"In her solemn, sexually graphic ''Romance,'' Catherine Breillat explores the nature of a woman's need for male attention and erotic love. Though many of her film's insights might be obtained from back copies of Cosmopolitan plus a smattering of the Marquis de Sade, watching it is a memorable experience for several reasons. Not least of these is its blunt, hard-core frankness. It's doubtful that the film's intellectual aspects would command the same attention if the camera did not make the actors' genitals as familiar as their faces."
-Janet Maslin, NEW YORK TIMES

Suggested Secondary Screenings:  EYES WIDE SHUT (Stanley Krubick, 1999) and LAST TANGO IN PARIS (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)


  1. I think I found my favorite film.

    I loved how lyrical the film was, how completely enveloped it was by the main character's thoughts. There was no wall separating us from her, no censure placed on her words, and in that respect it allowed for complete intimacy with her (the kind which her husband refused to reciprocate). In the intimate act of self-disclosure we are allowed to love Marie, or to see those qualities of her for which she deserves the love she so desperately seeks from Paul--because if dialogue and self-disclosure are the foundation of love, as suggested by the film, then these are the things Paul withholds from Marie. That is why the pure sexual act leaves her dissatisfied; in her confusion she fails to realize the true object of her pursuit.

    The elaborate dialogue is also another characteristically feminine quality of the film, other than shame (because typically strength of communication is associated with women). At the same time the dialogue evokes classical French cinema, for instance the films of Godard, where dialogue is largely a monologue out of the character's consciousness.

    The idea of a dialogue between beauty and ugliness is interesting (certainly supported by older Hollywood films, where male protagonists were older and physically unmatched to female protagonists, e.g. the 1954 Sabrina). Also the elevation of women stood out for me--particularly holding women to higher standards, à la Virgin Mary, which in practice disenfranchise women. Paul's sterilization of Marie through sexual rejection is a source of her anguish and subsequent weakness for her.

    I also appreciated the actress's uncanny resemblance to Charlotte Gainsbourg.

  2. I did not dislike the film, although it did irritate me a lot. What ever happened to just breaking up with your significant other rather than going on a sexual conquest? It was shot really beautifully, and the birth scene was a really interesting choice. Normally shots like this seem more like gross out gags or attempts to shock the audience out for the hell of it, but this shot actually seemed appropriate. Child birth happens every day and most films do not choose to show it but it is a part of life. I was incredibly shocked when I saw it, but reflecting on it later, it sort of made sense. Paul's behavior was very frustrating and made me question his sexuality, which was strange because the main character never really seemed to question it. He was completely neglectful to her, not only sexually, but he seemed to just want to go to bed right away. His selfishness generally leads to getting broken up with, not getting murdered, which was another interesting plot turn. I thought this was a pretty random ending. I was sort of confused by the love scene with the porn star, because she finally has a man that wants to be physical with her and she didn't even seem to enjoy it. The plot was very strange, but I did actually like it because it was not like a typical American romance film where she would either break up with Paul or they would get back together at the end, which we all have seen a million times.

  3. THIS IS ABOUT HIGH TENSION (although I truly loved this film)

    High Tension is a really good movie. And when I say good, I mean fun. By the normal standards of good, it probably isn’t. It’s got a ludicrous plot, punctuated by the worst twist I have ever seen in a movie. Literally the worst. Its not that it doesn’t make sense at the moment it is revealed, or that they had to introduce characters just to introduce the twist. No, its that it literally makes every event in the entire film not make sense. The director said that it is from the perspective of Marie’s mind, as creating a villain to make herself the hero of the story. The issue is that there are times when Marie is simultaneously interacting with other characters and things while the villain is killing people or doing something else. For instance in the scene where the truck drives Marie off of the road and she gets the gash on her head, the gash remains throughout the rest of the movie, even though she could not have been driving the truck and the car at the same time. Also, saying that the narration is from a crazy persons mind is cheating us because then any mistake can be explained by “well she is crazy.”

    The movie is a lot of fun though, and seriously intense. It has those major flaws, but there is no denying how spectacular the sequence in the house is. It is a long scene, and it is really, really intense. If Aja’s story abilities aren’t up to par with the master’s of horror, certainly his building of intensity is. The movie is also really well made. It looks beautiful (in a blood soaked, icky sort of way). Well I ever call it a favorite movie? No. If I watch it again, knowing the twist, will I hate it? I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so, because I don’t think I go into those kinds of horror movies expecting a phenomenal story (although if it gives me one I love it way more). I think I go in to feel the atmosphere and the horror, and this movie had it.

  4. This movie was strange, but I think I actually liked it.
    I don't know why the guy wouldn't have sex with her. Even if he was gay, I think it goes beyond that. I think he's just making fun of her and leading her by a string because she's so desperately in love with him he thinks she'll say/do anything.

    ps. too bad he didn't see that fire coming...

  5. This film was interesting on a number of levels. First, I liked all the symbolism with the white outfits and the baby being born as the father disintegrates in a house fire. However, I did feel that the husband was way too much of a gay caricature. I feel the message would have been clearer if her husband was unquestionably straight and just didn't want to have sex with her, because instead exploring human sexual urge and desire we are more focused on his sexuality. I thought the s+m principal made the movie. He was so good and had a creepy tenderness about him.