House of Tolerance

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House of Tolerance
French poster
Directed byBertrand Bonello
Produced byKristina Larsen
Bertrand Bonello
Written byBertrand Bonello
StarringHafsia Herzi
Céline Sallette
Jasmine Trinca
Adèle Haenel
Alice Barnole
Iliana Zabeth
Noémie Lvovsky
Music byBertrand Bonello
CinematographyJosée Deshaies
Edited byFabrice Rouaud
Les Films du Lendemain
My New Picture
Distributed byHaut et Court
Release date
Running time
125 minutes
Budget$3.8 million
Box office$1.5 million[1]

House of Tolerance (French: L'Apollonide: Souvenirs de la maison close, also known as House of Pleasures), is 2011 French drama film directed by Bertrand Bonello,[2] starring Céline Sallette, Hafsia Herzi, Jasmine Trinca, Adèle Haenel, Alice Barnole, Iliana Zabeth and Noémie Lvovsky. The film premiered In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.


The story is set in a luxurious Parisian brothel (a maison close, like Le Chabanais) in the dawning of the 20th century and follows the closeted life of a group of prostitutes: their rivalries, their hopes, their fears, their pleasures, and their pains.



Members of the cast and producers at the 2012 Prix Lumières. Left to right: Bertrand Bonello, Iliana Zabeth, Pauline Jacquard, Maïa Sandoz, Judith Lou Lévy, Alice Barnole, Adèle Haenel, Noémie Lvovsky, unidentified.

The genesis of the project was a merge of two film ideas Bertrand Bonello had been thinking of. About ten years earlier he had tried to make a film about modern brothels, but the project had been cancelled. After finishing On War from 2008, Bonello decided that he wanted his next film to be about dynamics within a group of females, and his partner suggested a film about prostitutes in a historical setting. The director then became interested in the aspect of a brothel as a closed world from the viewpoint of the prostitutes. The idea of a scar in the form of a smile came from the film The Man Who Laughs, an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel with the same name. Bonello says he dreamed about the film two nights in a row while he was writing House of Tolerance, and decided to include a female character with such a scar.[3]

The film was a co-production between Les Films du Lendemain and the director's company My New Picture, in collaboration with Arte France Cinéma. The production received 540,000 euro from the CNC and 416,000 euro from the Île-de-France region, as well as pre-sales investment from Canal+ and CinéCinéma.[4][5] The total budget was 3.8 million euro.[6] Casting took almost nine months. Bonello wanted a mixed ensemble of both professionals and amateurs who above all worked well together as a group.[3]

Filming started in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse on 31 May 2010 and lasted eight weeks.[4] The film was recorded on one continuous set, which allowed the camera to move between each room without cuts. Bonello chose to focus the camera on the girls and almost never their clients. He explained: "it reinforces the impression that the prostitute is above the client. I told the actresses: 'Be careful, I want twelve intelligent girls.' It was really important for me: they're not being fooled, they are strong women."[3]


The film had its premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it played In Competition on 16 May 2011.[7] It was the fourth time a film by Bonello was screened at the festival, and the second time in the main competition, after Tiresia from 2003.[6] Haut et Court distributed the film in France, where it was released on 21 September 2011.[8]


  1. ^ JP. "L\'Apollonide Souvenirs de la maison close (House of Pleasures) (2011)- JPBox-Office".
  2. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 118. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  3. ^ a b c Adler, Laure (April 2011). "Conversation between Bertrand Bonello and Laure Adler" (PDF). English press kit L'Apollonide. Films Distribution. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b Lemercier, Fabien (24 May 2010). "Bonello starts shooting on brothel-set L'Apollonide". Cineuropa. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  5. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (1 June 2010). "Ile-de-France backs Free Men". Cineuropa. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b Lemercier, Fabien (15 April 2011). "Bold trio Cavalier, Bonello and Maïwenn in race for Palme d'Or". Cineuropa. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Horaires 2011" (PDF). (in French). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  8. ^ "L'Apollonide – souvenirs de la maison close". AlloCiné (in French). Tiger Global. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

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