Brantôme 81: Vie de dames galantes (1982)

“Beautiful, mysterious, intriguing, they are mistresses or wives of men who have power. In the world of politics or business, these modern courtesans use their charms to get money and influence.”

Anne does not sell her body physically, but loving the money, she prostitutes her soul by serving as an intermediary to influence-peddling in which her husband’s temper. Alicia sleeps with a senior official to obtain a grant success for the family business. Hedonistic, Elise screws just for fun.  Helena leads a normal respectable life during the daytime but in the evening, seeks the companionship of prostitutes on the motorway, closer to that of the tragic and sordid double life of Theresa Dunn (Diane Keaton) in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (Richard Brooks, 1977). As for Vivian, she sells herself to buy luxury items, like a fur coat, ignored by a husband who prefers to watch television rather than admire the splendor of his wife. In the pessimistic Brantome 81-Life of Gallant Ladies, the flesh is sad and men are not important, whether those with whom one is carnal or those whose life we share. Anne, cold as a reptile, and will be ready to leave her husband when he is finally convicted in a real estate scandal, keepin for herself the money he fraudulently collected. The character of Jean de la Mazière [the official who is driven to suicide] is very loosely based on Robert Boulin, Minister of Labour in the Barre government, found dead in 1979 in a pond in the forest of Rambouillet.
Using a soundtrack by Mozart, Bénazéraf’s beautifully photographed film showcases the beauty of his performers by the use of frequent close-ups of their faces. Over two thirds of the film is devoted more or less to the five women, then the last part of the film  focuses on the trials and tribulations of Jean de la Mazière’s expanding scandal unleashed by the political class which he used to serve his interests

In Brantome 81, or Life of Courtesans, José Bénazéraf leaves the murky waters of pornography in which he sailed from the early 70s, to focus on a film more stimulating mentally than physically. Starting on Saturday, February 21 at 14:30, ending Sunday, March 1st at 5:35, the film delves into the lives of five ambitious women, in relation to the power of the Giscardian era in France.  ANNE de la Maziere (Antonella Interlenghi) is married to the director of cabinet in the Ministry of Infrastructure.  ALICIA Virieu who’s second husband, is the leader of a large company.  ELISE Royer (Corinne Brodbeck) spends her time in art galleries, while HELEN is the head playing a major publishing house. Finally, VIVIANE Mairesse (Valerie Kaprisky) works in the profession of call girl. Five women, five modern courtesans, prostitutes for different reasons. Make no mistake about it: these women know the power their sex and attractiveness gives them over men and they use it to their advantage.