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Directed by Barbet Schroeder
Produced in 1976
Main Language - French with English subtitles
A stylish love story with a dark undertone, Maitresse sees a professional dominatrix (a leather-clad Bulle Ogier) indulge in a conventional romance on the ground floor, but satisfy more demanding clients in her 'dungeon'.
A wickedly funny fable on the foibles of sex and love, Barbet Schroeder's film saw genuine masochists take their place in the cast. A youthful Gérard Depardieu stars as Olivier, the young innocent who falls for the dominatrix when he breaks into an unassuming Parisian apartment, forcing him to question his assumptions about sex, perversion and power.
Only released at the time in a handful of club cinemas in 1981, this story of a Paris prostitute specialising in bondage and sado-masochism was refused a certificate by the BBFC on its original release. The film features graphic scenes of torture and fetishism which the Board described as 'miles in excess of anything we have ever passed in this field' in 1976. The film was cut by almost five minutes and finally awarded an X certificate. This fully uncut version was first passed in 2003 and is presented in a new High Definition transfer for the very first time.
Barbet Schroeder, who went on to make Barfly (1987), Reversal of Fortune (1990) and Single White Female (1992) in Hollywood, was aiming in Maitresse to achieve a wholly non-judgmental exploration of the more extreme side of human sexuality, to strip it of its association with fascism and oppression. He called on the services of a real Parisian dominatrix who supplied on-set advice and much of her own equipment and also used several of her actual clients in the scenes where Ariane imprisons, abuses and humiliates them.
Length: 108 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen
Cat No: BFIVD586
Format: DVD Colour
- Original film poster
- on-screen and ROM interview with Schroeder
- original examiner reports from censor (ROM content)
by Barry Forshaw on 14th August 2003
Having lived under illiberal censorship laws for so long, it's still refreshing to encounter more evidence of the enlightened times we now (temporarily?) live in; such... Read on
Having lived under illiberal censorship laws for so long, it's still refreshing to encounter more evidence of the enlightened times we now (temporarily?) live in; such as the Blu-Ray/DVD release of Barbet Schroeder's sexually challenging Maitresse; this controversial study of a Parisian dominatrix (initially heavily scissored by the BBFC) is now available completely uncut. Barbet Schroeder's fourth feature stars a slim and youthful Gérard Depardieu (unrecognisable as the Brando-sized behemoth he has become) and Bulle Ogier. After upsetting moral guardians in 1976 with its uncompromising, unfaked scenes of torture and fetishism, it was shown only in club cinemas upon its release. It received a grudging an 'X' certificate in 1981 after the BBFC insisted on several of cuts. Here it is, though, untampered with on DVD and, for the first time, in High Definition on Blu-ray, in a Dual Format Edition. Apart from its sexual content, Maîtresse exudes a marked stylishness with costumes by Karl Lagerfeld. Among the special features are a documentary, Domestic Masochism: Barbet Schroeder's Maîtresse, in which Patricia MacCormack and Edward Lamberti intelligently dissect the way in which Barbet Schroeder confronts film shibboleths. Hide