Release Date: May 4th, 2005 (NYC-Film Forum), by Zeitgeist Films.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Dominique Aury, who, after nearly 50 years of using the pseudonym Pauline Réage, finally confessed to writing the Story of O, a sexually graphic novel.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Dominique Aury is a very charming, lively and energetic individual, even in her golden years. Her novel is shocking but it is very well-written. She definitely has a wild imagination and is not afraid to express it. Her interviews reveal a lot about the reactions to her novel, most of which are not surprising. The scenes that re-enact parts of her the Story of O occasionally well shot, but they are often distracting. Aury herself states that her novel is not meant to be acted, otherwise it would not have the same impact. Perhaps she is right: the images showing the sexual acts over the narration from the novel weakens the impact of the film as well.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The issue of freedom of speech is a big issue in this film. However, it is not discussed with any surprising insights. It is interesting that a woman like Aury wrote a novel of such a sexually graphic nature rather than a man. There would have been caused a lot of commotion with the public as well as critic, as Aury states. Coming out of her hideout from the public nearly 50 years later, lessons the commotion. However, it does not let her off the hook so easily. If only she would have explained more about "why" rather than the "how"s and the "what"s.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: The re-enacted scenes of the novel diminish the power of Aury's words.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
THE BOTTOM LINE: A provocative documentary about a wild, charismatic yet mysterious author, with re-enacted scenes that weaken the film and, ultimately, the author still remains somewhat a mystery.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (2nd Run)
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