Released: May 01st, 2004
Running Time: 75
Director: Martin Cognito
Company: Cal Vista
Cast: Alban Ceray, Yan De Bitch, Pinkie, Thibault, Estelle Laurence, AXL, HPG, Jean-Seb Bach, Juliette Dragon, Lucas Spira, Ovidie, Jade (I), Red Butterfly, Lilith (I), Manu Ferrara, X Nolwenn X
Critical Rating: AAAA 1/2
Will appeal to several markets, including couples, fans of story porn and fetish mavens.
This is the first U.S. release of a movie that was a hit in France in 2002. The director, Martin Cognito, a mainstream crossover, remains stubbornly incognito. In his DVD interview he wears a hood, and his face is blurred in the behind the scenes.
Whoever he is, he's damn good. This trickily told mystery set in the Paris' S&M underworld is well-paced, atmospheric and superlatively photographed. It resembles, ever so faintly The Fashionistas, at about a quarter of the length.
The leads are Ovidie and HPG, well-known porn actors in France but credited nowhere on Cal Vista's boxcover. Odd names perhaps, but that's no reason to leave them off the packaging.
They're both riveting performers. Ovidie has a hard, gem-like beauty; she's both sultry and impassive - a perfect fire-and-ice mistress. HPG, with his bald dome and beat-up features, has a Brando-like tough guy presence (despite the dopey American voice that comes out of him).
Claudine is a plain Jane by day, a dominatrix by appointment. A new submissive has a heart attack as she's dunking his head in a fish tank. After the police cart off the body, she finds among his things a video cassette on which she sees his death and her life unfold like a movie. From then on, events in her life are previewed on the video.
She becomes entangled with a hard-case police detective who is determined to turn the tables and dom the dom. Their power struggle culminates in an abrupt, enigmatic ending.
The sex is plentiful and always hot. The centerpiece is a big orgy scene at an S&M club that seems to involve many real-life players from the Paris fetish community. A three-way scene features a pre-Fashionistas Manuel (billed as Manu) Ferrara.
The movie is expertly dubbed in English; the three interesting interviews (director, both stars) are subtitled; only the behind the scenes is untranslated.
Pre-noms for Best Foreign Feature, Best Director - Foreign Release.