A softcore take on Pauline Reage's classic 1965 novel, banned to bits on its original 1975 release, but now scrubbed up for a limited London release. Clery is the titular Parisian fashion photographer, a sexual masochist who spurns autonomy in favour of absolute submission to lover Rene (Kier).
Jaeckin works the material through to its open-ended climax with surprising subtlety, presenting O as a willing cipher and not, as feminist rhetoric once fumed, a typically weak and brutalised woman. He succeeds by presenting the sex games in appealing, lavish photography and the effect is unfashionably sensual: more suggestion, less gynaecology.
If S&M really does mean more to you than the standard seedy caricature, you can enjoy it with both hands free.