Pierre Andrieux

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Maîtresse Review


OK
Yes, that's a young Gérard Depardieu (27 at the time) in Maîtresse, and that's probably the reason that Barbet Schroeder's scarcely seen but notoriously scandalous film is being released on DVD by masters of fine cinema, The Criterion Collection.

For the uninitiated, and I expect that's most of you, Maîtresse tells us the story of a thief named Olivier who robs the apartment of a mild-mannered woman (Bulle Ogier) he's encountered earlier in the day. Much to his surprise, he discovers a dungeon on her bottom story. Ogier's Ariane is secretly a dominatrix, stomping genitals, stretching guys on the rack, and otherwise abusing her clients into oblivion. This discovery leads to all manner of unexpected hijinks, as Olivier and Ariane begin a torrid affair while he tags along on her jobs, Olivier becomes obsessed with one of Ariane's clients, and a horse is slaughtered on camera; a horsemeat filet is consumed in the following scene. The lattermost among those is only one reason why this film is X-rated.

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