Maitresse (Schroeder, 1975) + a throwaway line or two about The Dilemma (Howard, 2011)

I’ve got a link to a review of Maitresse below this.  What I really want to talk about in here is the ending sequence.  Maitresse is a movie that has S&M in it.  It’s not an S&M film.  It also happens to have a great cast (Gerard Depardieu!) and a great, if idiosyncratic director (Barbet Schroeder).

Mr. Depardieu plays Olivier, a thief, who happens upon a dominatrix, Ariane, played expertly by Bulle Ogier.  They start a relationship.  She keeps secrets from her.  He tries to find them out.  Both are happy.  Both are sad.  He won’t let her drive.  She controls the love life.

SPOILER: at the end he nearly loses her, but finds her in the country.  They get in the car and start to drive.  In a scene reminiscent of Cronenberg’s Crash they begin to make love in the driver’s seat.  She’s steering.  He’s working the pedals.  The sequence really consists of two shots: a wide 2-shot of them in the car, and their POV shot (camera on the hood).  It’s tense, as the road is full of twists and turns, but more importantly it’s a perfect example of concluding a script thematically rather than narratively.  This is something I’m very interested in, and how I would love to work.  By this I mean:

The “story” as it were is not concluded.  They crash the car.  They survive.  They run off into the woods.  Roll credits.  There’s no resolution as to her secret life, the people who may be after Olivier, etc.  But the themes of the film – mostly control – reach their highest point in this sequence.  She steers, he drives.  They share control of the car (read: they share control of their destiny, future, etc).  Using the car as metaphor for love and life is smart by Schroeder – it’s been planted earlier and disguised as a simple character-building/comedic device.  Little do we know that he plans to use it at the climax to demonstrate the evolution of an oddball relationship.

Here’s the review which has a few more details:

I watched Ron Howard’s The Dilemma on an airplane.  This movie sucked.  I’m not a Ron Howard fan and this basically solidified it.  I’m not even going to mention plot.  I am going to mention that I hate films where characters have easy opportunities to step in, say one line, solve everything…and then don’t not for real, legit, dramatic reasons, but because the script is weak.

I also don’t think that Vince Vaughn or Kevin James are very funny.  Queen Latifah was the best part of this film.  What a mess.  At least the lasagna was warm.  Although I highly recommend against the tomatoes in the salad.  Not my smartest move.  Not at all.


About dcpfilm

Shooting, teaching, writing and watching the Phillies.
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