(Think that you can't rent movies at Netflix that contain legitimately explicit sexuality? Think again, my frustrated friend! In this special essay series, I look at a total of thirty mainstream films made over the last forty years, all of which contain scenes of such actual graphic sex acts as fellatio and penetration, reviewing them not in only in terms of the movie's quality itself but also the amount of sex it portrays, and whether this sex is any fun or not to actually watch. For more about how these movies were chosen, as well as the full list of all thirty titles, you can click here; and don't forget, these reviews are also mixed into the master list of all movies reviewed here, over at CCLaP's main movie page.)
The story in a nutshell: Rendez-vous is the tale of sexually experienced wild child Nina (Juliette Binoche, in one of her first major screen roles) who has recently moved to Paris to try her hand at acting; the movie itself, then, is essentially a slow-moving character drama about the various men who randomly come in and out of her life there, including the violent, passionate fellow actor Quentin (who tries to convince Nina to accept a job at the freaky performance-art sex club where he works), nerdy real-estate agent Paulot (who claims to be in love with Nina, but who might have a hidden agenda of his own), and grizzled veteran director Scrutzler (who has a complicated past with Quentin, and who declares Nina one day to be his new muse).
What I thought: Well, for starters, let's make it clear that this is much better than most '80s European erotic thrillers, more like a mainstream film that just happens to include a lot of sexuality (after all, Andre Techine won the Best Director award at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival for it); and to his credit, Techine also largely avoids the New Wave fashions that were so popular at the time of its shooting, going for a more timeless look that really benefits the film 25 years later. But that said, this movie is filled with easy stereotypes about French cinema, which is sure to drive some people crazy; why, if I had a dime for every ennui-filled talky frog spotted in this picture, I could afford to just buy Nina a career in the theatre and end her misery for good. It's a thoughtful movie, with a slow pace and a lot of drama; and if you happen to like movies of this sort, you will undoubtedly like this one too.
What makes it an explicit movie? Hardly anything, frankly; except for a few close-ups of genitalia, the film barely even features any more nudity, much less graphic sexuality.
Is the sex actually fun to watch? Eh, well....The fact is that Nina is supposed to have a dysfunctional relationship with sex here, looking at it primarily as that thing she must give all the perverted acquaintances in her life in order to get the things she needs from them (places to stay, roles in plays, etc), making the sex scenes themselves not exactly the most erotic things ever; but it's also a fact that the young Binoche was smoking hot (and nearly unrecognizable as well, to those who only know her from such later movies as Chocolat), making the sex scenes by definition not entirely unerotic either. It's not exactly the type of movie that couples should watch to put themselves "in the mood," but probably won't hurt the situation that much either -- that is, after you get your girlfriend to stop slapping you for being a man and therefore a disgusting little pig.
Strangest piece of trivia: Lambert Wilson, here playing the self-destructive actor Quentin, would later go on to great infamy playing the Frenchie "Merovingian" computer program in the Matrix trilogy.
Worth your time? My heart is a broken mirror, shattered, shattered...oops, I mean yes