The dawn of the XXth century: L’Apollonide, a house of tolerance, is living its last days. In this closed world, where some men fall in love and others become viciously harmful, the girls share their secrets, their fears, their joys and their pains.
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Strange piece. There seems to be a tension (or not a tension, but a subtle conflict, or a latent contrast) between a celebratory aesthetic and a somber social critique. The aesthetic has something of the decadent toulouse-lautrecian love of bohemian ways. The critique is quite subtle and refined. It's not a direct message. This is like a living painting, done in sensual strokes and colors, allowing the eyes to drift.
The sham romanticism of the 19th century will be blended with the pragmatic cynicism of the 20th in Bonello's provocative tableau vivant of a Parisian brothel. Read the film analysis at http://24fpsverite.com/review-en/lapollonide-house-tolerance-2011/
Quite possibly the worst film I have ever seen. Was there a purpose other than the director living out his perverted fantasies? It goes on and on and on. Almost thought there was a glimmer of substance in the Nights in White Satin scene but then I just realized that I love the Moody Blues and the characters with no substance continued to "act" and the director continued to "direct".
Without taking a narrative position and showing instead of telling, this film says everything there is to say about prostitution. There's something here for everyone from the libertarian to the moral feminist. The atmosphere is like a mix of Breillat w/ certain Altman & Visconti. Great music choices. Great film.
between hope and, even more, the lack of it, the cumplicity of those girls is what i've found most touching. when the camera, accurate, rested on their faces, i felt like contemplating a work of art such the melancholy and the contrast between beauty and ugliness. a remarkable, sad, beautiful and current film. flawless work of Bonello.
am I the only one who feels those bluesy song choices were grating to the film? as if the characters were actually listening to it when the movie takes place in 1900. it makes the scenes feel a little cheesey. I guess Bonello didn't want classical throughout the entire film. perhaps with the film's ending suggests the prostitution theme is much more timeless? and maybe the song's work. despite that, it's perfect.
A magnificent piece of art, with all the mysterious, aesthetical, emotional and intellectual qualities that a truly great film needs to contain for me to fully embrace it after only one viewing. One of the best films I've seen this year, and an alluring introduction to Bertrand Bonello's cinema, of which I've been a virgin up until now.