The School Of Flesh

Francophiles may appreciate this May-December romance, but it's not for the short attention span crowd. Unflappable Dominique (Isabelle Huppert), a prosperous, divorced fashion designer possessed of the extraordinary hauteur that distinguishes all self-respecting French leading ladies, visits a gay bar with a friend. In this unlikely setting, she falls...read more

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Francophiles may appreciate this May-December romance, but it's not for the short attention span crowd. Unflappable Dominique (Isabelle Huppert), a prosperous, divorced fashion designer possessed of the extraordinary hauteur that distinguishes all

self-respecting French leading ladies, visits a gay bar with a friend. In this unlikely setting, she falls madly in lust with gorgeous hunk-of-hustler Quentin (Vincent Martinez), who's tending bar. The mismatched pair's first date starts in a bourgeois Parisian restaurant, takes a detour to a

seedy video-game arcade and then, after a minor war of wills, proceeds to the luxury of an impersonal hotel. With breathtaking speed, Dominique embroils herself Quentin's life: In fact, she's one small step from stalking. Dominique interrogates Quentin's transvestite friend Chris (Vincent Lindon)

and contacts former sugar daddy Soukaz (François Berléand), a wealthy lawyer who warns her away from Quentin. Quentin resists Dominique's attempts to domesticate him, disappearing mysteriously for days on end. Dominique learns that he's selling his flesh on the street, and his betrayal goes

further. Yet Dominique's icy reserve is never shaken by his emotional battering: It's one of the film's most distinctive and disturbing qualities that her burning obsession throws off no sparks. Director Benoit Jacquot, whose recent films (A SINGLE GIRL, THE DISENCHANTED, SEVENTH HEAVEN) have

chronicled various modes of Parisian womanhood, decides here to play sexual obsession as a cool phenomenon, and that makes for some slow going. As the surly Quentin, who all his life has relied on the power of his physical beauty, Martinez stomps around like a caged bull. Huppert's performance

leans a bit heavily on the moist-in-the-eyes motif, but it's terrific none-the-less. They're both easy on the eyes, it's all in French, and it's always refreshing to see that the heart that others bleed for also bleeds itself. (In French, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Francophiles may appreciate this May-December romance, but it's not for the short attention span crowd. Unflappable Dominique (Isabelle Huppert), a prosperous, divorced fashion designer possessed of the extraordinary hauteur that distinguishes all self-re… (more)

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