As a notorious femme fatale of 19th-century Paris, Asia Argento poses and writhes like theres no tomorrow. Thats more or less the point of director Catherine Breillats lightly veiled satire of the tyrannies of gender and class in the last days of the French aristocracy, adapted from the novel by Jules Barbey dAurevilly. Too bad Ms. Argento, as female upsetter Señora Vellini, upstages all that with her vampy hamming (I want to drink his blood!), directed at a young nobleman whos prettier than she is (Fuad Aït Aattou). The bitchy character support by Claude Serraute, Michael Lonsdale, and Anne Parillaud provides needed perspective. Beautifully photographed by Yorgos Arvanitis (104 min.).
Director: Catherine Breillat
Writer: Jules-AmÃ©dÃ©e Barbey d'Aurevilly and Catherine Breillat
Producer: Jean-FranÃ§ois Lepetit
Cast: Asia Argento, Fu'ad Ait Aattou, Roxane Mesquida, Claude Sarraute, Yolande Moreau, Michael Lonsdale, Anne Parillaud, Jean-Philippe Tesse, Sarah Pratt and Amira Casar