“O wondered why she found her terror so delicious.”
At the request of her lover (Udo Kier), a woman (Corinne Clery) is given the pseudonym “O” and trained to become a willing sex slave to men.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Unfortunately, there’s little to enjoy and much to be offended by in this dull, slowly-paced, lushly photographed erotic classic (based on the French novel by “Pauline Reage”). As Peary notes, the pain “O” suffers at the hands of the “debonairly repulsive” men around her is rarely mitigated by any signs of overt pleasure; we hear her voicing her consent, yet it’s hard not to feel like she’s got some serious psychological issues for agreeing to this kind of torture. Equally disturbing is the fact that, other than in the final, extremely brief closing shot, it is uniformly women who are abused by men in this film, rather than an equal interplay existing between both. Indeed, as pointed out in the MediaScreen.com review — the only recent review I could find online that seems to corroborate my distaste for the film — in an age of increased awareness about the dire situation for women in many countries around the world, it’s especially disturbing to see women abused at the hands of dominant men.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Corinne Clery’s surprisingly nuanced performance as O
- Beautiful soft-filter cinematography
- Sumptuous, elaborate sets
No, though it’s worth a brief look simply for its place in erotic cinema history. But don’t expect to enjoy it.