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Shot with supreme elegance. --Time Out
Top Customer Reviews
The three stories consist of, first, La Masque. We are in 19th Century Paris at the Palais de la Dance, where great, swirling balls are held. This is a place where young women hope to find pleasure and rich men; where old women chase memories and young suitors; where prostitutes and their pimps gather, where the men are young bucks and old goats, where "rough cotton to the finest cambric" can combine. One slender man in full dinner dress rushes into the palace and begins to dance with a beautiful young woman. He prances and kicks, yet his face is like a frozen mask of youth. He collapses on the dance floor and a doctor is called. When the doctor loosens the man's clothes, he finds...well, let's say that when the man is delivered home to his wife by the doctor, she tells him a story of the battle between pleasure and love.
In La Maison Tellier, we learn all about a cozy, friendly and long established brothel in a small town on the Channel coast. The bourgeois men of the town are as well-known there as they are to their wives.Read more ›
These stories work out as if they were a modern fable placed in the heart of Paris, where characters and situations are depicted with such sublime artistic intensity and sheer good taste, what magnificent camera work, what fabulous travels, what sumptuous exquisiteness in what concerns to visual support, this undeniably one of the sublime and poetic masterpieces of the French Cinema ever made, superbly directed by this master Max Ophlus.
The film is based on 3 stories by Guy de Maupassant..The Mask, The Tellier House, and The Model (which replaced a different story that had a more risque plot). The central story of The Tellier House is the main one, and is framed by the 2 shorter ones. All the stories are tales about male/female relationships, where the women are in a sense willing victims of the men. Victims might be the wrong word, because although outwardly, they are subordinate, trapped in cages by circumstance and dependent relationships, inwardly, they are mentally and emotionally braver and stronger than the men they are attached to. Each story is beautifully filmed and has visually breathtaking moments. In The Mask, it's the tracking shot in the ballroom leading up to the frenetic entrance of the masked reveler. In The Tellier House, the opening sequence slowly peering through the caged windows of the bordello, and the scene in the country church when Madame Rosa's weeping becomes contagious. In The Model, the staircase scenes where Jean and Josephine first meet, the fight that the camera fluidly follows through a number of rooms, and the final flight of Josephine up the stairs and to her destiny.
As usual, the extras on this Criterion set are praiseworthy, including a booklet, an introductory filmed essay by the noted director Todd Haynes (best seen after the movie),and several interviews with notables involved in the making of LE PLAISIR. All in all a real pleasure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie (a triptych) illustrates perfectly the universe and the themes of the great French writer Guy de Maupassant. Read morePublished on July 8, 2013 by Luc REYNAERT
Max Ophuls' film consists of three short stories from the pen of Guy de Maupassant which he imbues with his fluid camera and visual expertise. Read morePublished on September 29, 2011 by The CinemaScope Cat
Max Ophuls's anthology of three Guy de Maupassant stories all revolve around the same theme of how difficult the pursuit of pleasure is and what must be sacrificed for it. Read morePublished on May 24, 2009 by Jay Dickson
I love the films of Max Ophüls; he has such a way with the camera. This B&W French film from 1952 is particularly tricky because the camera is always in motion. Read morePublished on April 16, 2009 by Pamela G. Maher
(I can't resist) LE PLAISIR is a pleasure. It's brilliant.
Director Max Ophuls transferred 3 Guy de Maupassant stories (set circa the late 1800s) to the screen while... Read more
The screen is pitch black and we hear a voice..."I'm so happy to be talking in the dark as if I were beside you, and maybe I am. Read morePublished on April 11, 2007 by C. O. DeRiemer
The screen is pitch black and we hear a voice..."I'm so happy to be talking in the dark as if I were beside you, and maybe I am. Read morePublished on March 23, 2007 by C. O. DeRiemer
[The following is a review about the original French version.]
You may not remember the name of Max Ophuls, whose graceful, sweeping camerawork is elegance itself. Read more
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