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Ma Mere (2004)

Isabelle Huppert , Louis Garrel , Christophe Honoré  |  NC-17 |  DVD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, Emma de Caunes, Joana Preiss, Jean-Baptiste Montagut
  • Directors: Christophe Honoré
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NC-17
  • Studio: TLA Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYELEC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,670 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ma Mere" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Alternate ending
  • A deleted scene
  • Interviews with director Christophe Honore and actress Emma de Caunes
  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Challengingly stylish and original, Ma Mre is the story of Hlne (Isabelle Huppert), cool and in charge, her husband, and her teenage son Pierre (Louis Garrel), a pious Catholic boy back from boarding school. As Hlne confesses to her son about his father's infidelity, they hear he has been tragically killed in a car crash. This news sets in motion a wild series of parties involving drugs, alcohol and sex-filled nights out with Hlne and her female lover. Inexplicably, she pulls her son into her sordid lifestyle. When she mysteriously goes away, her son is left in the care of her mistress Ra (Joana Preiss) and Hansi (Emma de Caunes), an icy blonde sadist with whom he falls in love.

Special Features:

  • Deleted Scene
  • Interview With Director Christophe Honoré
  • Interview With Emma de Caunes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Ma Mère Theatrical Trailer
  • TLA Releasing Trailers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
'Ma mère' is a film on the edge. Director Christophe Honoré (who gave us the little jewel 'Closer to Leo') has adapted a tough book by Georges Bataille that explores incest, sadomasochism, love, family dysfunction, and nebulous moral values of conflicted adolescents caught in the web of sexual investigation. It is filled with difficult scenes and ideas and certainly is not a film for the faint of heart or spirit, but at the same time it is a brave film depicting the dissociative state of sexual mind to which we've come after the influences of such thinkers as Bataille, Foucault, Derida, Gide, and others. Christophe Honoré captures an impossible story extremely well on the screen!

17-year-old Pierre (Louis Garrel of `The Dreamers') is a spiritually challenged adolescent home from his Catholic school to be with his mother Hélène (Isabelle Huppert) whom he idolizes and loves and see his father (Philippe Duclos) who is distant in every sense. Hélène finds it necessary to inform Pierre of her background (her husband raped her when she was very young, causing such anguish that she has become addicted to a life of immorality as a means of escape), a means of warning him of what close association with her could mean. Pierre is blind to all things negative about Hélène and with the news of his father's death, he demands to be included in the wild sexual life of Hélène and her female lover Réa (Joana Preiss). Hélène is sexually attracted to Pierre and elects to include him in her games of voyeurism (watching Pierre during intercourse with Réa, introducing him to the shallow and compulsive Hansi (Emma de Caunes), mutilation, and all forms of debauchery.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mother of the Year November 2, 2005
Format:DVD
You've got to respect Isabelle Huppert. She does not avoid shock or controversy in her choice of films and her performances in them. "Ma Mere" could not have been made without her, or at least not made as unblinkingly. Heterosexuality in all its permutations, save that of love and commitment, provides the subtext for this adaptation of Georges Bataille's postwar French novel. A teenager is just coming of age and coming home from boarding school where his hedonist mother is, literally, laying in wait. The novel's narrative, updated to today on a sandy vacation island, would be right at home in an ancient Greek theatre.

As she was in "The Piano Teacher," Huppert is cast opposite a man (Louis Garrell) young enough to be her son, which is precisely the point. The picture is really about him and how he is pimped out and ultimately seduced by his mother. He parades about naked and, in some perverse way, seems to be asking for it. Indeed, all the sexual couplings occur in full view of others. The eroticism (S&M, bondage, incest) never crosses over into pornography, but it just might at any time, giving "Ma Mere" a momentum it otherwise lacks. The bodies and locales are so beautiful it's hard to take your eyes away, even if your mind is off wandering a bit.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "MA MERE" richly-deserved the NC-17 rating. February 10, 2006
Format:DVD
Yesterday as I watched this film, I felt like, many others in here, somehow shocked by the dominant and explicit images. Yet it can't be said that this is merely done to make a controversial film.

The viewer gets a slowly developing picture of the relationship between mother and son, or more correctly of the adaptation of mother's lifestyle by her son. Lastly everybody is invited to morally review the relations, actions and sayings of the main characters. But as most viewers are likely to enjoy the "forbidden" relationships or explicit scenes, who are we to give criticism? Ma mère takes place in the Canary Islands, where the film's family shares a home. The mother Hélène (Isabelle Huppert), cool and in charge, and her teenaged son Pierre (Louis Garrel), a pious Catholic back from boarding school, discuss his father's infidelity; the next they hear, he is dead in a car crash. Hélène launches into a wild series of parties, gradually involving her son in her drugging, drinking and sex-fuelled nights out. When she mysteriously goes away, her son is left in the care of her mistress Réa (Joana Preiss) and Hansi (Emma de Caunes), an icy blonde sadist with whom he falls in love. As the film evolves, we realize that this is a period of initiation for the young man until his mother can return and fully bring him to sexual maturity and adulthood.

This film puts a whole new dimension in the concept of what is normal, allowed or understood as morally acceptable, plus the abrupt ending will leave the viewer a little bit disturbed.

Isabelle Huppert is great on this film. She goes from teaching piano lessons to workshopping intercourse without so much as a flinch. Her quiet outwardly plain demeanor disguising the profoundly ill soul inside.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly sad and tragic February 28, 2006
Format:DVD
Underneath all the incest, sadomasochism, drugs, and orgies is a terrible tragedy. It is the tragedy of a young man in need of the love and guidance of supportive parents who is then cast into a world of wild hedonism by his mother.

A young man returns from Catholic boarding school in France to visit his parents in the Spanish Canary Islands. With the death of his father, the young man is swept up into the world of off-beat sexuality in which his mother engages on a nightly basis. We see a range of sexual adventures Pierre engages in first with his mother's girlfriend,Rea. His mother then sets him up with a young heart breaker beauty, wise beyond her years, named Hansi, with whom he falls in love. Thus, the mother insures he is initated into sexual intercourse and then falls in love as part of her plan to fully initiate her son into the adult world of sexual desire and fantasy.

Yet, the strength of the screenplay and the acting of Louis Garrel is that underneath it all we see a young adolescent man trying to seek his parents love and coming up shorthanded. As Pierre makes love to Rea in an after-hours shopping mall, his eyes follow his mother watching the public intercourse from a distance.

I did not find the film especially erotic, despite the vast range of sexual acts and nudism. Instead, I found it profoundly tragic and sad. The film breaks many taboos, but the most painful taboo broken was a mother who substitutes sexual initiation instead of affection and love for her only child. At one point you realize that Hlne, played very well by Isabelle Huppert, wants her son to experience all this hedonism so that he might understand her. If only she had made the slightest effort to understand him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Cinema gone haywire.
Artless. This movie debases the Art of Cinema. I had to leave the "theater" mid way and promptly removed it from my
library.
Published 16 days ago by Esmondo A.
1.0 out of 5 stars Dysfunctional family-at its worst
I did not like the way the mother tried to get her son to degrade himself like she was. Horrible presentation of a mother who only cares about enjoying life-which is ok in a way-... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miguel Figueroa
3.0 out of 5 stars Rated R vs. NR
This is a great movie. But do yourself a favor and by the NR version. Do NOT buy the rated R version. Read more
Published 2 months ago by James Shell
1.0 out of 5 stars dumb
this is a stupid and waste of time, i wish i had my money back, it was very very stupid
Published 2 months ago by William Martin
2.0 out of 5 stars I Tried To Care, I Really DId
Perhaps I lack the vision or enlightenment to appreciate fine art, or maybe I'm just too American to grasp the nuances of foreign cinema. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lottatime
1.0 out of 5 stars ma mère
This is NOT an excellent new French film. The story is as confusing as the actors trying to make sense of an impossible script. Read more
Published 5 months ago by hans
5.0 out of 5 stars Super. Super. Super. Weird.
This movie is weird and a half. It is kinky. I get it. But the end is just weird. A little too weird for my taste.
Published 6 months ago by D.D.
2.0 out of 5 stars An Exactlent example of people with too much time on their hands
This is the story about a wealthy family at their vacation home in Corsica. The father is much older than the mother and dies during the movie. Read more
Published 6 months ago by GBoswell
2.0 out of 5 stars OVERRATED
I don't know what exactly is wrong with this film, but it just didn't connect with me. While the subject matter is outré for sure, the movie just fails to convey the sense... Read more
Published 7 months ago by THE KING OF PANGAEA
5.0 out of 5 stars delicate movie
very touchy and incest relationship with a young boy and his mom
dedicated to sex and sexual relationships with her friends
Published 8 months ago by carlos mora
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