House of Pleasures
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House of Pleasures
In this lush, atmospheric look at the final days of an elegant, turn-of-the-century brothel, we go inside the cloistered walls of L'Apollonide to meet the Madam (Noemie Lvovsky), her elite clientele, and some dozen "girls" - veterans and newcomers, romantics and cynics, schemers and innocents. Upending the period drama with split screens, time shifts and a modern soundtrack, this is a provocative and beautiful film about the world's oldest profession - and an exploration of how the past is remembered. -- (C) Sundance Selects

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Nothing in this film comes as a surprise, but Bonello's intent to show the place backstage as well as onstage is fulfilled and pertinent, even though the period setting gives the picture a curio air."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"No one, male or female, has any fun, but the men behave as if they do. They are all half-stupefied by the languor in which they drown."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Bonello is more interested in the women's relationships with each other than with their rich clients, though we do get to see them living out some of their patrons' kinky desires."
‑ Jason Best, Movie Talk
"The film is superbly designed to suggest the oppressive, hypocritical haut-bourgeois decor, the obsessive eroticism that excludes real desire, and the languorous timelessness that makes one day like another."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Dazzling and deep. You'll want to go back for more."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"It's about forcing us to think about people we never would otherwise and seeing their struggles and humanity."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"It emphasizes setting over character and plot; and it casts a mood that's both eerie and entrancing."
‑ Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
"There's plenty of flesh on display but the stories are far from erotic."
‑ Siobhan Synnot, Scotsman
"We watch with various degrees of either fascination or boredom as the girls go about their work wondering how long it or they will last."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"Bertrand Bonello's atmospheric, poetic film seduces you with all the skill and subtlety of the courtesans it depicts."
‑ , Film4
"What gives the film its haunting pull, as well as its feminist undercurrent, is the filmmaker's palpable compassion for these women."
‑ Jon Frosch, The Atlantic
"Seductive on the surface, steely underneath, this is an angry, fascinating, highly political film all wrapped up in costumed frilliness."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Bertrand Bonello's visually alluring glimpse of what prostitute's do during down time. Captivating at times, but it does go on."
‑ Clint O'Connor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Here to prove that misogyny never quite goes out of style in the cinema, French director Bertrand Bonello presents this wearisome, questionable spectacle."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Erotically charged but overlong and untroubled by too much plotting."
‑ Tom Seymour, Empire Magazine
More reviews for House of Pleasures on Rotten Tomatoes

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