Walerian Borowczyk – Cérémonie d’amour AKA Love Rites (1988)
“Adapted from a short story by André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Love Rites concerns French fashion designer Hugo Arnold, who has set out on the Paris metro to meet a woman about a batch of dresses he’s interested in. On the metro, he meets a beautiful young prostitute named Myriam. Soon, Hugo has forgotten all about his dresses and is devoting his day to following Myriam around the city. Eventually, the two end up at the apartment of Myriam’s friend, Sara Sand. Anyone who can’t guess what happens from there hasn’t seen the disk’s cover art.
What’s interesting about Love Rites is that it truly is as simple a movie as it sounds; in fact, I can’t think of the last movie I saw that was this uncomplicated—the film really only consists of two characters, so, over its course, we come to know both of them quite intimately (and yet, strangely, they both manage to retain an air of mystery as well). In this sense, it really is an excellent translation of the short story form to cinema (ranking, in my opinion, on the same level as the opening segment of Todd Solondz’s Storytelling). Love Rites’ simplicity is also interesting as a contrast to other films: instead of trying to cram the content of a novel into a feature, Borowczyk, in choosing shorter source material, allows himself the time to explore it properly, which, in the end, produces a film that is much more satisfying than most adaptations….
All in all, Love Rites proves another engaging and interesting gift from Walerian Borowczyk that, like The Beast, refuses to be classified. It treads the lines between horror and romance, art and exploitation, and refuses to give the viewer any easy answers. Even now, I’m still not sure of what the movie is exactly supposed to mean; however, I know I liked it. If you’re interested in the artier side of cult cinema, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.” – Monsters At Play
In French with English subtitles.