Breillat's provocative drama charts how an idyllic affair between a divorcee - an optician with two kids - and a feckless, womanising twenty-something leads to brutal murder. Though some may find the woman's increasingly masochistic reactions to her young lover's behaviour questionable, the film is psychologically astute; just watch how the boy's early curiosity about the woman's greater experience slowly turns to insecurity and a determination to take control. The performances are unsentimental, the tone uncompromising, and if the film ends up too schematic for its own good, there's no denying its emotional punch or the intelligence of its dark insights.
Cast and crew
Delphine de Malerbé