The Last Mistress 

Controversial director Catherine Breillat ambitiously brings Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly’s 19th-century once-immoral novel to life in this torrid adaptation about love, passion, temptation and scandal. The film is set in France during a time when the politeness of Parisian aristocrats masked the dark, lustful actions of a more private sector. Ryno de Marigny (Fu’ad Ait Aattou) is a charming libertine whose scandalous past as a womanizer becomes the talk of the town. After he decides to change his life around by marrying the beautiful and pure Hermangarde (Roxane Mesquida), Hermangarde’s grandmother, the Comtesse d’Artelles (Yolande Moreau), must find out whether the young man’s love is true. Breillat paints an exquisite picture by creating a film that’s both graceful and shocking, unlike most dull period pieces. Asia Argento as Ryno’s mistress, Vellini, steams up the screen, alluring the audience with her sensuality in every scene. Although you may feel uneasy watching the movie at times, this is definitely one saucy and sophisticated affair to remember. ***

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