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Asia Argento (#110 of 4)

On the Circuit: The Last Mistress

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On the Circuit: <em>The Last Mistress</em>
On the Circuit: <em>The Last Mistress</em>

Devoid of shock murders, genital close-ups or bodily discharges (save one abortion scene that still pales in comparison to the one in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), The Last Mistress, Catherine Breillat’s first period picture, is less scandalous than any of her recent films, but it proves to be just as engaged with the impossibility of heterosexual relations and the vagaries of desire.

Based on a then-sensational 19th century novel by Jules Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly, the milieu is one of elegantly costumed French aristocracy whose veneer of high morals barely conceals a sexual economy of infidelity and hypocrisy. While bodice-ripping historical romances are nothing new, Breillat brings her indelible mix of braininess and rawness; mixing verbal and physical sexual exchanges, she aims both high and low where other films settle for a tastefully soft-core middle.

On the Circuit: Go Go Tales

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On the Circuit: <em>Go Go Tales</em>
On the Circuit: <em>Go Go Tales</em>

Go Go Tales opens with a stunning couplet of images that emblematize Abel Ferrara’s latest foray into the sublimity of sleaze. An overhead close-up studies leisure-suited Ray Ruby (Willem Dafoe), his distant, lascivious gaze dissolving into a pan across the lap of a nubile ballerina.

On the Circuit: Mother of Tears

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On the Circuit: <em>Mother of Tears</em>
On the Circuit: <em>Mother of Tears</em>

Among the many sights on display in Dario Argento’s Mother of Tears: a psychotic screaming monkey, a gaggle of hooded, chanting occultists, an oblong, metallic jawbreaker, and some freshly disemboweled intestines employed as an impromptu noose. And that’s only the second scene.