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3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A highly erotic, gothic mystery, in the style of Hitchcock's "Vertigo", from Alain Robbe-Grillet, writer of the Oscar-nominated "Last Year At Marienbad" and director of the notorious "Trans-Europ Express".
An English historian living in Morocco is searching for some mythical lost paintings. His quest leads him into the ancient Arabic quarter of the city. There he sees a beautiful blonde woman in a white veil. He becomes obsessed with finding her, but discovers that she may already be dead.

His Moroccan mistress, Belkis, appears to be encouraging his obsessions, but it soon transpires that she may be trapping him in a dark and dangerous labyrinth of desire, from which death may be the only escape.

This was the last work from the acclaimed and award winning filmmaker and is an exotic, erotic mystery story which deals with some of the most profound issues of the human heart. Packed with controversial and astonishing imagery, it's an intriguing and complex work of art that is a fitting tribute to a master of world cinema.


Gradiva explores the blurred lines between reality and fantasy, and eroticism and violence...its brand of sophisticated deviance is very satisfying.

Mondo Macabro s DVD presents a gorgeous 1.85:1 widescreen transfer --Twitch

Special Features

* Brand new anamorphic 1.85:1 scope HD transfer taken from the negative

* Exclusive filmed interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet

* Theatrical trailer

* Extensive notes & text essays

* Mondo Macabro preview trailer

* Scene access



Product Details

  • Actors: Arielle Dombasle, James Wilby
  • Directors: Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Mondo Macabro
  • DVD Release Date: August 25, 2009
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AWM0T0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,061 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gradiva" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film is a sado-erotic masterpiece from a master of sado-eroticism (Allain Robbe-Grillet). It is not for everyone. If you have not explored alternate sexuality, it is not a film for you.

I didn't understand this film before reading the info in the special features. There are many erotic BDSM scenes with attractive actresses. On its face, the film might appear to be exploitative and gratuitously sado-masochistic.

However, on reading the commentary by the director (Allain Robbe-Grillet), the film came into focus as an art film exploring the deep taboos of our unconscious.

It is a film with a long history of predecessors in French cinema. Grillet (died in 2008) is a noted French author and director. Little known is that his wife, Catherine Robbe-Grillet, was also an esteemed author of French sado-masochistic literature. Under the name of Jean de Berg, she authored a book in the 1960's entitled: "The Image." It was quickly made into a French sado-erotic film. The Image ("The Punishment of Anne") The film was directed by the art-house pioneer Radly Metzger. Metzger, an American Veteran of war film documentaries for the Army, was making tasteful Therese and Isabelle art films about alternate sexuality in the 1950's and 1960's. The Radley Metzger Collection, Vol. 1 (Therese and Isabelle / The Alley Cats / Camille 2000);
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Format: DVD
This was an interesting French film shot in Morocco. From what I'm coming to learn as an ignorant American is that the French certainly appreciate erotic cinema, and this movie is no exception. In fact, the movie is primarily concerned with a more underground type of eroticism, looking at Arab/Moroccan sex slaves, torture (lightly), etc. The movie also explores a Frenchman investigating Delacroix (sp?) and his experiences in Morocco and a legendary French woman who may or may not have been his lover, who may or may not have been executed by Moroccans, and, further, who may or may not be a ghost haunting the Moroccan streets. Largely, that story takes a very backseat to the movie's visual displays of the ribald, which are, for the most part, very well done. There are strong atmospheric elements, with good camera work, lighting, scene composition, etc. The acting is at least passably good too. Overall, its really not about any particular story, but is an interesting visual evolution for the eyes, considering the great Moroccan visuals, the perverse eroticism, etc. A recommended rental for sure.
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Format: DVD
A film about dreaming. It both benefits and suffers from this.

If you have not had much familiarity with alternative sexuality the nudity and theatrical S&M might turn you on and you will overlook the blemishes and think it was erotic. There are lots of unrealistically perky breasts and a few displays of whippings, some blood, etc. Wow? -- God bless you and enjoy.

But really it is about dreaming. It is one of the most extensive EFFORTS to deal with shifting scenes and paradoxes in dreaming that I have seen. I would give it an A for effort. To help you along, there are discussions of dreams within the dream about dreaming itself that are almost pedantic tutorials on dreaming. I did not find this distracting at all because I find in my own dreams that I can have discussions about dreaming as I try to figure out if I am dreaming or awake. So actually I liked this.

Also I felt that the setting of Marrakech really contributed to the dreaminess of the film. Grade of A on this important detail.

On the other hand the dream angle allowed the director to get away with a lot that I felt made the film seem tedious and even amateurish at times. Like, so many of the breasts looked injected and unrealistic and made it seem almost like a porn film. But one could argue in defense, "Oh well that was to make it look more like a dream." Hmmm. Anyway other aspects of direction also seemed more like a porn film than serious film-making.

The acting often was also pretty theatrical or stilted in the sense of just not good. Again, one could say, well that was to make it seem more like a dream. But from my own dreams and from reading and talking, behavior in dreams is realistic but strange in not such affected ways.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary film, an oneiric phantasmagoria capping Robbe-Grillet's career as a filmmaker. If you're new to his work, whether as a director or as a novelist, don't worry if you start off thinking it's the story of the discovery of some lost Delacroix sketches, then change your mind and see it as the story of a frame-up, and then change your mind again and take it for a psychological thriller, and then see it as a retelling of Madama Butterfly. (If you're not new to his work, you'll be expecting something like this.) It's all those things, and, while you won't be able to lay out the cause-and-effect relationships of all the pieces on graph paper, it nonetheless all coheres. The realism of classic storytelling--the Dickensian or Balzacian plot--has never had a place in Robbe-Grillet, but he offers instead a vision of reality beneath what we've trained ourselves to see day-to-day. In this he shows himself an heir of the Surrealists, and it's not for nothing that Gradiva's male lead is named John Locke. Indeed, one rather droll way of reading the film is as a critique of the sort of rationalism the flesh-and-blood Locke espoused. So approach this as a cinematic dream. (Indeed, pay particular attention to the little scene in which we learn all about the profession of dream acting, including how the government, while banning a great many things, still permits murders and sexual crimes to occur in dreams; Robbe-Grillet's sense of humor too often goes unnoticed.) The film does contain a good deal of sado-erotic imagery, but it's of a curious type, with none of that Dickensian realism to it, but rather the stuff of dreams, at least certain ones. Make of it what you will, but Robbe-Grillet never was a respecter of convention, and I suspect there is at least an element of épater le bourgeois to be had here.
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