A tale of high-class prostitution inspired by the French erotic classic Histoire d'O published in 1954 and written by Anne Desclos under the pen name of Pauline Reage who wrote the novel as a series of love letters to her lover, an admirer of the Marquis de Sade. Sponsored by Jane Campion and directed by an Australian, Sleeping Beauty (2011) is Julia Leigh's debut feature film. Lucy a young college student, played by the beautiful actress Emily Browning, has a sex life that involves casual pick ups from singles bar's, her only friend is a self destructive alcoholic known as Birdman (Ewen Leslie) and has a whole load of part time jobs including office temp, waitress and participation in scientific experiments. Following up on an advert she adds one more to her CV. She agrees to perform unusual sexual services for a high-class establishment set up in what appears to be a stately manor house run by Clara (Rachael Blake) a high class Madame. This very well paid gig involves Lucy taking a drug that puts her into a deep sleep which allows elderly male punters to carry out intimate sexual acts of their own choosing but strictly excluding penetration!
|A particularly onerous job interview!|
We are never allowed to penetrate Lucy's psyche or given any reason for her rather strange behaviour. Leigh's study of loneliness and self-sufficiency suggests that all forms of work are prostitution, an interesting concept. This independent Australian film has the distinct feel of a European movie, beautifully shot and convincingly portrayed but strictly un-erotic erotica.