Bertrand Bonello

The second competition title of Sunday, and a universe away from the gorgeous, subtle brilliance of the morning showing of Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, comes Bertrand Bonello‘s House of Tolerance, or to give it its full French title L’apollonide (Souvenirs de la Maison Close), an intimate portrait of a  brothel in its last days. The press pack promised copious nudity, and the hook of a prostitute who is disfigured by a “client,”  who slashes the corners of her mouth to make a permanent scarred smile. So think the Joker, only with capital knockers. It’s hard to offer a succinct review, or even a succinct synopsis, since the film consciously resists definition by traditional standards. In other words it’s one of those pretentious films that is usually found making up the Competition picks at Cannes, not likely to trouble the awards, and thus basically represent an opportunity for the selectors to show off their own tastes. But here goes…

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