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House of Pleasures

180 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 13, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

A turn-of-the-century brothel becomes an unlikely bastion of loyalty in HOUSE OF PLEASURES, an erotic feast about the uniquely intimate camaraderie that develops among the ladies of the luxurious French house L Apollinde. Madam Marie-France provides a glamorous life for some of the most alluring and desirable women in Paris, but also treats them as virtual slaves. Among the dozen employees are a cheerful girl with a regular adoring john, a regal beauty who disdains all the men fighting for her services, a long-legged stunner reaching the end of her career, and a sweet and trusting new girl who winds up in bed with a very rough customer. From the director of The Pornographer, HOUSE OF PLEASURES both exposes the dangers of the sex trade and manages to show how trust can be earned in the most unlikely of places.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Hafsia Herzi, Céline Sallette, Jasmine Trinca
  • Directors: Bertrand Bonello
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006JSXX38
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,068 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Lee Herman on August 3, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I'm stunned by many of the reviews, so let's be clear about what to expect from this movie.

You won't like this movie if you want:

-Scene composition from music video directors
-Average scene duration under 3 seconds
-Dancing girls from music videos
-Gratuitous sex
-Clever one-liners, like from a James Bond movie
-A happy ending where the hero gets the girl and the villain is thrown into a waterfall (for instance)

What you will get is:

-Lush sets
-Beautiful cinematography
-Slow, delicious scenes
-Eroticism without a hint of voyeurism
-A touching human story about desperation and being victims of the times and circumstance
-Women who are beautiful beyond their physical appearance
-Quietly raw emotions

This is not another French movie that you confuse with others that you've seen just because it's French. Don't miss it.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Malfoyfan on March 30, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I saw a review of this movie last year on TV and it looked interesting, so I watched a Netflix rental of it last night. I have to say it wasn't what I expected - for a film about a bordello it's the least arousing movie imaginable - and yet it's extremely moving, beautifully photographed and designed, and well-acted. I won't say it's uplifting but it's certainly enlightening. The women's experience in, and attitude towards, their profession is presented in great detail. Their feelings towards their customers are mostly negative and one woman states she will never have sex again after leaving the bordello, which is understandable after watching the entire film. The women find affection only among themselves. I found the sequence in which one of the more experienced girls initiates a newcomer to be very interesting.

I'm not sure who I'd recommend this movie to, since I think many people might be put off by the subject matter (much like our friend who posted the one-star review) but I think it's a great achievement and deserves to be watched with an open mind and heart. It's difficult to watch at times and as one reviewer said, it's definitely in the "artsy" film category, but I found it extremely moving and I loved the performances of all the actresses playing the prostitutes. Check it out for yourself. If you are offended by nudity - full frontal, often, both sexes - probably best to steer clear, but if you appreciate a well-made, provocative, and thought-provoking movie, I really do recommend it. It's so beautiful to look at, and it will haunt you for days.
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103 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on March 22, 2012
Format: DVD
To call this film "sexy" is to miss the point. Admittedly there are a number of beauties on display each night in this bordello (and Bonello is not above allowing and even inviting us to gaze at them), but this is a film about the institutional and state-sanctioned exploitation of women. There is most definitely an erotic quality to the women in various states of undress but they are only eroticized when they are alone or with other women; when with men, there's nothing erotic about this film's images of sex --which are presented as acts of commerce between privileged aristocrats and the debt-ridden underclass of women who they cruelly exploit on a nightly basis --unless one finds images of the ritual subjugation of women erotic (Susan Sontag, were she alive today, would certainly have much to say on this topic). The interest here is in the individual stories of each sex worker--not one of them enjoys what she does for a living, one even swears she will never have sex again once she leaves the bordello. While the interiors of this bordello are lush and exotic and inspire male fantasies of responsibility-free sensuality, the realities are that these escapist fantasies veil abuse, exploitation, disease and death.

The film moves slowly and makes rather overt nods to both Kubrick's now revered Eyes Wide Shut and De Palma's under-rated Black Dahlia. But in two surprising instances its languid pace is punctuated by anachronistic blues rock songs. Especially powerful is the use of the Moody Blues haunting "Nights in White Satin" that functions as a painfully lyric ode to female suffering.

Recommended viewing alongside House of Pleasures: Pretty Baby, Louis Malle's 1978 classic of prosititution in New Orleans fabled Storyville.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Dolly Webb TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 3, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
The people who have reviewed this move with one or two stars seem to have been misled. As one reviewer stated there are a few key things this movie is not, and I'd like to extend on that:

-This is not an erotic film, and it is not meant to be. Granted, there are nude women in this film. There are nude men. And there are scenes of a sexual nature. But there is not eroticism portrayed in a way that people expecting a porn-like film would enjoy. Many scenes may be a bit graphic for people who easily blush at nudity. But for people accustomed with the human anatomy, and are not looking for an adult-film, will find this production tastefully done. The nude scenes are done very comfortably and professionally. There is nothing amateur or inappropriate about the content in the scenes. I admired the camera-work, as it was done obviously with a great detail to portraying the characters appropriately without exploiting the fact they have no clothes on.

-It's not fast-paced, suspenseful, or strewn with any sort of action-like undertone. This movie, I would describe, as a bit of a slow paced drama. If you take the time to emotionally connect with the characters (which I found very easy to do), you'll quickly grow into the pace of the movie. It is not your typical film. People accustomed to normal American movies need to go into this film expecting something different. Something artfully done and well-thought through. The storyline is subtle and beautiful, but in order to understand it fully you need to pay a great deal of attention to the details. And you cannot expect it to rapidly move from clip to clip with overly done exaggerations. No, this film is much different than that. It's at a much slower, deeper pace that I think allows you to truly emotionally connect with the characters.
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