Ma Mere review

Based on an unfinished posthumous novel by the controversial French writer Georges Bataille, Christophe Honoré's Oedipal drama Ma Mère is the latest in a tradition of extreme French cinema.

The story starts innocuously enough, as 17-year-old Pierre (Louis Garrel from The Dreamers) heads off to spend his summer holidays on the Canary Islands with his parents. But soon Papa buys it in a car accident and he's left alone with mum Hélène (Isabelle Huppert) - - who, in her own words, wants ""to be loved for the shame I provoke"." Along with partners-in-crime Réa (Joana Preiss) and Hansi (Emma de Caunes), she inducts her son into their world of sexual transgression...

Despite the beautiful-people cast, sex here is presented with a matter-of-fact joylessness, since Bataille's characters are seemingly escaping from the human condition rather than seeking pleasure. Ma Mère features another fine Huppert performance, with Hélène a compelling mixture of menace and fragility.

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