Une liaison pornographique (1999) from Tuna

released in North America as "An Affair of Love"

An Affair of Love is the region 1 DVD release of Une liaison pornographique (1999), a tragic French love story. Tragic and French may be a redundancy here.
We all know the Hollywood love story formula, Boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy finds girl. The French managed to shorten the formula to boy meets girl - boy loses girl, quelle tragédie. In this film, a man and a woman are each being interviewed separately, but are shown in parallel in the film, about an affair they enjoyed together. The Gérard Depardieu role is played by Sergi López, a huge improvement in my opinion. The woman is played to perfection by Nathalie Baye, who won Best Actress at the Venice film festival for this role. The film was nominated for several other European awards.


Nathalie Baye's breasts are seen in this movie, in sex and in the bathtub, but nothing else. The lovers are pictured having sex under the sheets.
Despite the somewhat whimsical introduction above, this is a very well-made film. It is never explained why the two characters are being interviewed, nor do we learn much about either of them. The film chooses to focus on the relationship they shared. She is between lovers, and places an ad in a fetish magazine, wanting to try something sexual she has always fanaticized about, and he answers. Two minutes after their first meeting, they are in the hotel room she pre-booked. After a successful first meeting, it becomes a regular weekly tryst, and they become closer to each other with each visit. They don't, however, exchange names, or any information about their lives.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1, excellent quality.

  • TV trailer

Eventually, they try "normal sex," and the relationship becomes far more serious. What makes this film such a treat is the focus on the affair, the wonderful photography and art direction, and the incredible heat and honesty of the sex. We never learn what the fetish was, but it doesn't really matter to the story, and everything unnecessary was omitted. As a matter of fact, not telling us is exactly right -- it is enough to know that the fetish is very non-mainstream, and that they both enjoyed it a lot.

This is the most beautiful and intelligent film I have seen about love and sex in a very long time. Great date fare, despite the tragic ending, it is a good bet for the start of a romantic evening.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 78.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.5, Apollo users a very impressive 90/100. These scores are consistent with the critical consensus of three and a half stars.
  • With their dollars ... peaked at 19 screens in the USA, $350,000.

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