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Movie Review by Michael Parker

Starring: Caroline Ducey, Rocco Siffredi, Sagamore Stevenin, Francois Berleand

Director: Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat?s ROMANCE is a rather humourless study of a woman searching for the sexual gratification that her boyfriend refuses to provide. It sounds like a crude excuse for as much bonking and bare flesh as you can get into 95 minutes, but this is a genuine attempt to portray a young girl?s sexual journey by the author of 7 books and 7 films over the last 30 years.

Shot in that cool, detached but disturbingly honest style that is typical of French cinema, it attempts to convince us of Marie?s (Caroline Ducey) love for Paul (Sagamore Stevenin), as well as her bodily need to be screwed by everyone else. Somehow neither are convincing, but the graphic representations of her adventures pull no punches. This is not Tom and Nicole in warm-toned cozy Hollywood, but the real thing with all it?s moist unpleasantness included.

Does this direct in-your-face attitude get us anywhere? Well not really. It does explore boundaries between pain, love and physical gratification that most people never open the closet door to, but the pace is at times desperately slow, the message confused and, for good or bad, the images leave nothing to the imagination.

But if you want to see just what a French actress will put herself through in the name of art, or you need to brush up on your gynaecology, you?re unlikely to see anything quite so fully exposed this year.

ROMANCE was released in the USA on September 17 1999 unrated. The poster, shown in our , has been banned in the USA. The film which is released in the UK on October 8 1999 has been given an 18 certificate uncut in the UK which is a landmark, as it is one of the first films with such explicit scenes to be given an 18 certificate in the UK which has notoriously strict censorship laws.