Gérard Depardieu, Bulle Ogier, André Rouyer, Nathalie Keryan
Criterion Collection In French; widescreen; English subtitles; exclusive video interview with Barbet Schroeder; new essay by film critic Elliott Stein.
|Filmgoers who know Barbet Schroeder as an adept, playful director of Hollywood crime thrillers from 1990's "Reversal of Fortune" to 2002's "Murder by Numbers" will be surprised and challenged if they delve deeper into his résumé. Early in his career, Schroeder experimented with the hallucinogenic hippie travelogue "La Vallée" and the offbeat documentaries "Idi Amin Dada" and "Koko, a Talking Gorilla." And the first traditional narrative movie he directed and co-wrote was the memorable, profound and unconventional love story "Maîtresse," starring a rough, young Gérard Depardieu and the petite yet resolute Bulle Ogier. While robbing an apartment, Olivier (Depardieu) and his confederate discover a fully equipped dungeon, the workspace of professional dominatrix Ariane (Ogier). Ariane comes upon the thieves in the act, and she and Olivier make a connection. Although disconcerted to learn how this delicate-looking woman makes her living, he's drawn to her. Their mutual attraction pulls Olivier deeper into her world, until he's assisting her as she punishes clients. But the relationship and its deviant trappings throw both of their lives askew. If you can endure a few painful scenes of real masochists being tortured, the performances of Depardieu and Ogier in this twisted, disturbing romance are spankin' good.|