AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

6/20/08

The Last Mistress

Catherine Breillat

(french with english subtitles)

Cast:

:La Vellini (Asia Argento)
Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Ait Aattou)
Hermangarde ( Roxane Mesquida)

PLOT:
The age-old battle of the sexes is once again brought to the screen in this film about two woman(rivals) and a man who can not escape the shackles of a mistress La Vellini, whose power over men triumphs over common sense of intellegual/economic desires. Based on Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly's 19th Century novel.

COMMENTARY:
Cold , detached, empty
too many extended silences
too many moments of vacuous eyes, staring into an invisible camera
too little tension
too much that is bad
rather than good, loving, credible
too many cliches
too much exposed of La Vellini's perfectly formed full bosom and too long a shot of Hermangarde's perfectly formed midriff (like a piece of fine sculpture) . But haven't we seen all that before?

This film lacks energy
conflict, tension
It lack compelling
emotion that goes forward and takes us with it or gets deeper and deeper into an original plot. There is no original plot, not for those who saw Valmont (Dangerous Liaisons) or Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary

What is the point of "The Last Mistress"?

When the bodies disengage what is left?

No off spring to cherish, to continue the vacuous life portrayed, There are no ideas or scenes to be remembered.

Pleasurable to a point, but that point was just like the love between husband and wife, lost in the progression of an ordinary life even amid the flamboyance in dress and surroundings of the very wealthy.

The costumes are beautiful, the recreation of opulence with the wealth of color, texture, decor is awesome. But there wasn't enough substance, even with the a ten year love affair (replete with child born, died. the couple , consumed by death, agony) because we don't really feel. It doesn't seem genuine to the viewer and it wasn't real enough to help unite the couple.......or so it seems while Ryno de Marigny gives his version of the past events that inform on his present life.

This is a classic case when telling is not enough. Show us the action, the passion, the moment and then we can known and belief and feel as we hope to do when we go to see a film, particularly a French one..

All that great costume and decor for naught



Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
and
Rotten Tomatoes :Witches Brew

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