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HOUSE OF TOLERANCE

Director: Bertrand Bonello

122 minutes • France • 2011


One of the standout films from Cannes this year, director Bertrand Bonello (The Pornographer) returns to one of his regular topics, the lives of those employed in the sex industry, focussing here on the inhabitants of the Apollonide, a Parisian brothel at the turn of the twentieth century. The lives of the prostitutes within the bordello walls are portrayed as lives of quiet misery; they face health risks, public opprobrium, unexpected violence from their clients, and are in constant financial debt to their Madame, who thus keeps them in her service. Allowing the stories and personalities of the House’s denizens to overlap and interweave affords Bonello the opportunity to provide a rounded and compelling portrait of prostitution which has obvious and disturbing parallels with the modern sex trade.<

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