Accountant Antoine (Frappat) is so shy that his health club boss suggests a massage to reduce tension. Thus he takes his first steps into a secret life of self-discovery, shame and pain. Devers' debut, adapted from Tennessee Williams' short story Desire and the Black Masseur, is a compelling look at an asexual sado-masochistic relationship between two utterly ordinary men. Shot, rightly, in black-and-white, the film never romanticises the tender emotions that grow in a climate of sinister ritual and silent desire, nor does it fall prey to easy moralising or racial stereotypes. Until the enigmatic final scene, Devers' quiet observations are lucid, often touching and funny. Most impressively, the handling of potentially sensationalist subject matter is discreet but tough. The performances, too, are admirably understated.