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''Perhaps the most uncompromising and startling film screened at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival was Catherine Breillat's Romance, which follows a young married woman's descent into sexual abjection in reaction to her lover's refusal to copulate. Her search for sex outside their marriage leads to devastating loveless encounters with a well-hung stud, a practiced middle-aged seducer and a casual rapist!''—Sight & Sound

Marie, a dyslexic primary school teacher, cannot make a distinction between the emotional and physical aspects of love. In her questing for a satisfying equilibrium, she turns from Paul, the man she is in love with, to purely athletic carnal encounters with Paolo (played by freakishly endowed Italian hardcore porn star, Rocco Siffredi) the ultimate Latin lover; and Robert, an older gent into S&M games. Breillat's style even extends to a baroque Fellini-esque fantasy sequence.

The culmination of themes and events depicted in her previous live films, Breillat's Romance reveals her unique and neglected talent. With its ice cool mise en scene and a performance of extraordinary physical courage by Caroline Ducey, Romance is the most unsettling movie about women's sexuality of recent times. It would not be overrating it to compare it to Bunuel's Belle de Jour (1967).