Maitresse DVD

Barbet Schroeder, 1976


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Film Details

Directed by Barbet Schroeder

Produced in 1976

Main Language - French with English subtitles

Countries & Regions - European Film, French Film

Film Description

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.

DVD Details

Certificate: 18

Publisher: BFI

Length: 108 mins

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 28th July 2003

Cat No: BFIVD586

Subtitles: English

DVD Extras

  • Original film poster
  • on-screen and ROM interview with Schroeder
  • original examiner reports from censor (ROM content)

Community Reviews

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


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