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France 1975
Directed by
Just Jaeckin
93 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Story Of O

A classic of soft-core arthouse porn, this 1975 adaptation of Pauline Reage's erotic novel had the good fortune to be banned on its release and so acquire a legendary status, that, as is so often the case, is not warranted.

O (Corinne Clery) is a young woman who willing joins a S & M group and submits her body to the fantasies of a lot of well-heeled males. With its pretension to high style such as was conceived of in the 70s (O is a fashion photographer, examples of her work giving the film its most embarrassing moments), the tacky Euro-synth sound-track, dubbed dialogue, and the presence of Udo Keir it has many of the characteristics of a cult film, although it's hard to imagine anyone watching this more than once, simply because it has so little narrative development and tends to repeat the same sequence of soft-focus humiliations.

Although incorrigibly misogynistic in a very 70s way, portenteous voice-over aside, in depicting a world of sexual fantasy, it is not entirely wide of the mark. And the penultimate scene suggests that Stanley Kubrick had a look at it in preparation for Eyes Wide Shut.




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