A turn-of-the-century brothel becomes an unlikely bastion of loyalty in HOUSE OF PLEASURES, an erotic feast about the uniquely intimate camaraderie that develops among the ladies of the luxurious French house L'Apollinde. Madam Marie-France provides a glamorous life for some of the most alluring and desirable women in Paris, but also treats them as virtual slaves. Among the dozen employees are a cheerful girl with a regular adoring john, a regal beauty who disdains all the men fighting for her services, a long-legged stunner reaching the end of her career, and a sweet and trusting new girl who winds up in bed with a very rough customer. From the director of The Pornographer, HOUSE OF PLEASURES both exposes the dangers of the sex trade and manages to show how trust can be earned in the most unlikely of places.
Céline Sallette,Noemie Lvovsky,Jasmine Trinca,Adele Haenel,Hafsia Herzi
Bertrand Bonello (TIRESIA) depicts a highly cinematic and atmospheric look at the final days of a turn of the century brothel when much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grand maisons, populated by elegant madams and vetted clientele (including French filmmakers Jacques Nolot (BEFORE I FORGET) and Xavier Beauvois (OF GODS AND MEN). Within L'Apollonide's walls, Bonello tracks the lives of the Madam (Noemie Lvovsky) and close to a dozen girls among them: Madeline (Alice Barnole) who is horribly disfigured by a client and becomes known as "the woman who laughs", Clotilde (Celine Sallette) the veteran who longs to be a "respectable woman" and Pauline (Iliana Zabeth), the newcomer whose eyes are quickly opened to reality. Despite the fact that desire often mixes with danger and disease rears its ugly head, the film is filled with moments of intimacy and camaraderie amongst the girls. Using a bag of cinematic techniques which include split screen, time shifts and a modern soundtrack, Bonello has made a provocative and beautiful film on not only the world's oldest profession but also a commentary on history as remembered by art and literature.