The Last Mistress

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The Last Mistress
theatrical poster
Directed by Catherine Breillat
Produced by Jean-Francois Lepetit
Written by Catherine Breillat
Based on Une vieille maîtresse by Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
Starring Asia Argento
Fu'ad Aït Aattou
Roxane Mesquida
Cinematography Yorgos Arvanitis
Edited by Pascale Chavance
Distributed by StudioCanal
Release date
  • 25 May 2007 (2007-05-25) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • 30 May 2007 (2007-05-30) (France)
Running time
104 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $5.7 million[1]
Box office $1.8 million[2]

The Last Mistress (French: Une vieille maîtresse, literally "An old mistress") is a 2007 French-Italian film based on the novel Une vieille maîtresse by the French writer Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly. It stars Asia Argento and Fu'ad Aït Aattou as the two main characters. The movie was directed by the French filmmaker Catherine Breillat and was entered into the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


In 1835 Paris, Ryno de Marigny (Fu'ad Aït Aattou), before getting married to the young and innocent Hermangarde (Roxanne Mesquida), makes a last visit to La Vellini (Asia Argento), his Spanish mistress, to bid goodbye in an act of lovemaking. His liaison with La Vellini is the subject of Parisian gossip, and before Hermangarde's grandmother gives her blessing, she wants to hear from Ryno everything about this relationship. Ryno reveals a tempestuous story but indicates that his ten-year romance is over; he now is in love with Hermangarde. After the marriage, the newlyweds move away to a castle at the seashore. They are happy and soon Hermangarde conceives. But the "last/old mistress" reappears, and while Ryno tries to keep her out of his life, she is not to be rejected, and Hermangarde finds out about it.


Critical reception[edit]

The movie was well received by the critics. It appeared on some critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Stephen Holden of The New York Times named it the fifth best film of the year,[4] and Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter named it the ninth best.[4]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 77% of 94 critics gave the film a positive review, for an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's consensus states that "More complicated than your average bodice ripper, Catherine Breillat's Last Mistress features beautiful costumes, wrought romances, and a feral performance from Argento."[5] Metacritic gave the film a score of 78 out of 100, based on 25 critics.[6]



Blateau,Anne-Élisabeth. "Une vieille maîtresse sans Breillat" (A Last Mistress without Breillat), in Carré d'Art : Barbey d'Aurevilly, Byron, Dalí, Hallier, by Jean-Pierre Thiollet, Anagramme éd., Paris, 2008, pp. 143–149.

External links[edit]