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France, 2011, 125 min
feature , color
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Director - Bertrand Bonello
Cinematographer - Josée Deshaies
Cast - Hafsia Herzi, Céline Sallette, Jasmine Trinca, Adele Haenel, Noémie Lvovsky
Producers - Bertrand Bonello, Kristina Larsen

Production - Les Films du Lendemain, My New Picture, arte France Cinéma
World Sales - Films Distribution

Awards and Nominations

Cannes ’11 – Nomination for “Golden Palm”

Bertrand Bonello’s highly stylized look at the final days of a fin-de-siècle brothel in Paris conjures up the languid beauty and frank sexuality of French Romantic painting. Its visual sumptuousness lands somewhere between Ingres and Renoir but with stylistic provocations worthy of a time-travelling Baudelaire.

In the nineteenth century, much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grands maisons, populated by elegant madams and a vetted clientele. They were akin to social clubs, with the gentleman participants expected to be as charming and witty as they might be in more respectable drawing rooms. The ladies were provocatively dressed and, upstairs, occupied numerous boudoirs ready for carnal pleasures. Even in such a controlled environment, dangers still lurked: disease was rampant and lethal, and sometimes even a gentleman might lose his temper and harm one of the women.

House of Tolerance immerses us in this long-abandoned world, awash with opium, champagne and the inevitable rush of semen. The film’s pace accentuates the languor of the place, its many personages slowly revealing their life journeys like an old-fashioned striptease. Several of the stories are grim: country girls desperate for money, dumped from failed relationships or, most difficult to watch, slashed with a knife for little apparent reason.

And yet there is grace, especially in the daytime moments of sisterly camaraderie and the casual yet oddly affectionate deceits of the madam (in a stern turn from the formidable Noémie Lvovsky). This spirit carries into moments when modernity intrudes, most notably in a penultimate dance – as the brothel is about to be closed under order of the mayor – to the tune of an oddly appropriate “Nights in White Satin.”

Noah Cowan, Toronto IFF


Bertrand Bonello

Bertrand Bonello was born in Nice on September 11, 1968 and currently lives between Paris and Montreal. His film The Pornographer received the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes ’01 and two years later his film Tiresia was nominated for “Golden Palm”.







1996 Qui je suis – short
1998 Quelque chose d'organique (Something Organic)
2001 Le pornographe (The Pornographer)
2002 The Adventures of James and David  – short
2003 Тирезия (Tiresia)
2005 Cindy: The Doll Is Mine  – short
2006 My New Picture  – short
2008 De la guerre (On War)
2010 Where the Boys Are  – short
2011 L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close) (House of Tolerance)



Cinema City - 21:15;


Lumiere - 15:30;

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