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You'd think a movie with this much copulating would be erotic, but writer-director Christophe Honore's graphic adaptation of Georges Bataille's novel is so clinically detached it borders on absurd. The Canary Islands provide a sun-drenched backdrop for some very dark games initiated by a jaded French sophisticate (Isabelle Huppert) who feels her son's moral education will benefit from a little rough stuff with her girlfriend, followed by some S and M with a local tart and a compliant young man. For most of the film the theological and philosophical concerns plaguing mother and son seem more a rationalization for their joyless liaisons than a quest for fundamental truths, but ultimately the story achieves coherence with a climax that takes this woman's maternal devotion to its logical extreme. The outrageous final scene is horrifically funny and sad. In French with subtitles. 110 min.

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