How Much Do You Love Me? (Combien Tu M’Aimes?) 2005

“I made an attempt to become a good person.”

The reality of a prostitute’s career is an ugly business. Can this be translated accurately to the silver screen? Probably. But chances are that the average film portrayal will be abysmally unrealistic (the romantic fantasy Pretty Woman, for example). So add Bertrand Blier’s How Much Do You Love Me? (Combien Tu M’Aimes?) to the stack of unrealistic, problematic films involving prostitutes.

The prostitute in this film is the luscious, buxom Daniela (Monica Bellucci) who sits in full view of a café window showing off her wares as she waits for men to cough up 150 Euros for the pleasure of her company. One evening, mild mannered clerk, lonely middle-aged Francois (Bernard Campan) who claims to have won the lottery, offers to ‘buy’ Daniela’s services until his 4 million euros run out. Daniela accepts, and so she leaves with Francois and moves into his grotty little apartment.

Blier’s film plays with several themes before disintegrating into a surreal conclusion. Francois, it seems has a weak heart, and well … Daniela may well push him over the edge. In time, it appears that Daniela may very well be in love with Francois, but is he in love with her? Gerard Depardieu plays a relatively small role as Daniela’s pimp Charly, and in his few scenes, he manages to steal the film.

With opera music to enhance the drama, some scenes are wildly overplayed, and yet other scenes involving Charly and Daniela are staged for high drama, but then fade into an off-kilter humour. The plot seems to spin out-of-control as the film progresses, and the occasional surreal moment eventually consumes the entire film. But if you want to check out Monica Bellucci’s bod, then start here. The film ultimately pays homage to the Italian Sex Goddess, loving lingering on each body shot, finding any excuse to capture, acknowledge and worship her beauty.

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Filed under France, Gerard Depardieu

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