The Last Mistress

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Read about this film in Cyn Collins’s Daily Planet review, “21 films in 11 days.”

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Director: CATHERINE BREILLAT

Controversial director Catherine Breillat (Romance, Fat Girl) moves from edgy erotic films to a period costumer with The Last Mistress. Adapted from the novel by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, the film is set in 19th-century France, when the world was a seemingly much more innocent place.

Underneath the surface, here, she is faithful, however, to her favorite theme: war between the sexes and other dark secrets. Asia Argento has a tempestuous role in a string of affairs in this torrid romance that continues her growing reputation to become a serious actress. Breillat’s ambitious and biggest production to date also feels like one of her most personal. While the film has a sedate façade, it is in keeping with the graphic work of her previous films. Argento is a perfect Vellini, at once carnal and terrifying but also sensual and alluring. The striking Ait Aattou, who makes his first screen appears, confirms Breillat’s gift of getting the most out of non-actors. The Last Mistress is a lush period piece that nonetheless has a universal, modern message, and it makes many daring statements about love, lust, and romance.

(In French w/ Eng. subtitles)

FRANCE/ITALY • 2007 • 114 MINUTES • DIRECTOR: CATHERINE BREILLAT

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