Fin de siècle enters the exclusive Paris brothel of Madame Marie-France and her affluent, eccentric clients (among whom attentive viewers will recognise the occasional French filmmaker). The opulent decor and company of young women suggest a cocoon of timeless pleasure where the outside world no longer exists. But the Madam has to pay her rent and the end of an era nears, even here.
Bertrand Bonello primarily wanted to reveal this closed world from the point of view of the prostitutes. More important than the clients are the more mundane sides of the business - exhaustion, washing, fear of disease. Bonello shows the camaraderie, gossiping about clients and hope the women have that one day they will be able to pay off their debts to the Madam. The prostitute who was maimed by a client is tragic: now she has a scar in the form of a cruel smile, borrowed by Bonello from The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni, 1928), based on the novel by Victor Hugo.

International title
House of Tolerance
Filmmaker
Bertrand Bonello
Country
France
Year
2011
Medium
35mm
Length
122’
Language
French
Producer
Kristina Larsen
Production Company
Les Films du Lendemain
Sales
Playtime
Writer
Bertrand Bonello
Cinematography
Josée Deshaies
Editor
Fabrice Rouaud
Music
Bertrand Bonello
Cast
Noémie Lvovsky, Hafsia Herzi
Website
http://www.obrother.be