Maîtresse 1975 – First Glimpse into the World of the Prodom

Maitresse-DVD-BFIBarbet Schroeder’s Maîtresse (1975) must be one of the first films to explore the world of the professional domina. Starring a young Gérard Depardieu and Bulle Ogier as leather-clad dominatrix Ariane. It’s a subversive love story that was both shocking and ground breaking as it gave viewers their first glimpse into the secret world of fetishism and BDSM.

Olivier (Depardieu) is a small-time crook who breaks into a Paris apartment only to discover he’s in a dungeon, even finding a gimp in a cage. He is caught by prodom Ariane (Ogier) who offers him money to assist her with the scene – it’s not exactly clear but he either masturbates or pisses into the gimp’s face. This leads to a relationship between the two and with him assisting her in some wild scenes, we the viewer are like Olivier – innocent eyes discovering this strange hidden world for the first time.

Maitresse Ariane’s dominatrix costumes were designed by Karl Lagerfeldmaitresse-costumes-dominatrix
A real life domme doubled for some of the BDSM scenes, including the infamous cock nailing scene, along with some of her genuine clients.

It also explores the great paradox of professional domination as Olivier questions that she is not really in control as she is playing out her clients fantasies – doing what they want. It looks at power play which is more prevalent in the ‘real’ world as Ariane seems to be controlled by an older man, while Olivier wants to save her or is it to control her himself.

I wish Gérard Depardieu would come to one of my parties 🙂

There’s a theme of double lives running throughout the film, all the characters have alter egos, there’s the two rooms of light and dark, respectability above, while below a subterranean punishment chamber; two telephones of business and personal (again one white, one black); black and blonde hair depending on Ariane’s role. All demonstrating the dark underbelly behind the façade of polite bourgeoise society, reminiscent of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986). For me the most shocking (and yet beautiful) scene in the film again comes from the ‘real’ world, after an argument a wild Olivier wanders into an abattoir where he watches a horse being slaughtered. This was filmed for real and as the horse is dying it gallops while hanging on meat hooks. Again, it seems to be the real world where horror exists not in the fantasy world of fetishism. Ultimately, there is much that will shock us if we peek behind closed doors.

Maitresse-domination-In 1976 the film was banned in the UK due to the sadomasochistic content and nudity – most notably the scene of a man having his penis nailed to a board (for his pleasure of course) this was not faked and a real-life prodom doubled for the actress. Later in 1980 approx. 5 mins were cut and it was given a limited release, the fully uncut version was finally passed in 2003.

Perhaps more french art film than commercial fair but it is still very well-known and respected, it’s not for everyone but does earn a place in the annals of female domination.

About Mistress Sidonia

Supreme Ruler of The English Mansion. Leather clad 'n' booted bitch, highly sexed, cruel male slave owner and trainer.
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12 Responses to Maîtresse 1975 – First Glimpse into the World of the Prodom

  1. comfortface says:

    Very interesting post. My mother told me about a movie where Gerard Depardieu appeared naked: I am wondering if it is this one. She could never remember the title, so I am very grateful to you for all the information. 🙂

  2. bootslavewilliam says:

    Yes, Mistress, very interesting, and a film well worth seeing. Goddess and I will have to watch our copy again soon. How different Depardieu looks nowadays!

    Indeed, what does go on behind closed doors and windows that would truly shock us, in such stark contrast to safe, sane, consensual BDSM activities/fetishes that so many would condemn as depraved/immoral/freaky? Years ago, walking home usually a little tipsy from town in the early hours after a night out, I used to often wonder about people’s secret lives hidden behind their faintly-lit, drawn curtains. Most often, there probably was nothing noteworthy to comment on, just occasionally some good kinky fun (hopefully!), but certainly too sometimes awful situations such as domestic/child abuse, alcohol/drug addiction, despair… And how many horrors of all kinds in this world of ours are routinely tolerated/ignored each and every day?

    Anyway, back to male servitude and FemDom heavy rubber, leather and BOOTS!…

    Respectfully and submissively.

  3. Iany says:

    Although Depardieu has played down his part in this film, Bulle Orgier is a big fan of the film. One of the most memorable scenes is a simple one in which we see Orgier’s transformation in the mirror from plain Jane to dominatrix goddess. It is still one of the best pieces of work depicting BDSM. Its witty as well but it doesn’t lose its nerve like some other films. Preaching to the Perverted for example descends into sub-Carry On farce and was never sure what it wanted to be. Interesting too it should come out of France which has often had a sniffy dismissive relationship with BDSM where it used to be regarded as Tuetonic/Vice Anglais eccentricity.

    • Yes the transformation is another element to the theme of double lives and the film does have a wry wit to it. Bulle Orgier later married the director so she has to be a fan 🙂
      PS. I’ve always loved the expression Vice Anglais, well we are the best perves in the world

      • Iany says:

        I read an article about the popularity of the Avengers in France and it particular Diana Rigg who apparently fulfills are popular soft spot among some French men for bossy English women. Perhaps an enterprising domme could relocate near Ashford station and dress up as Emma Peel.

        • bootslavewilliam says:

          “CHAPEAU MELON ET BOTTES DE CUIR”… the wonderfully enticing, if cumbersome, French title for that series. As a mere boy over there when it was aired on TV, those last three words, even then, had a powerful effect on me… without my remotely realising why! They, along with other early FemDom/BDSM/kink influences, still resonate delightfully with me today.

          Talk about sowing a seed that grows into a mighty oak! My logical subjugation by, and deep desire to serve, the Dominant Female was all pre-destined!

          • sardax says:

            In German it’s simply
            Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone (with umbrella, charm and bowler)
            You’d think they at least could emphasize the leather more!

  4. Martin Whelan says:

    Re Maitresse–What a brilliant movie in the early 80’s I had a French G/F we used to go down to the Scala Cinema in Kings Cross and watch it there as it was mostly banned in the UK. Natalie used to watch it while I was on the floor licking her boots. I eventually got to see it. My favourite movie of all time. So much so that I later wrote an even better novel (better story) Called The Final taboo set in Ireland in the 70’s it is the most erotic novel ever written by an Irishman. Based on fact to awaken the sexual conscience. Then got screwed by the publisher. Cest la vie. Although much of the inspiration was from Maitresse. Sadly missing from femdom videos is any trace of dialogue but I am a big fan of the English Mansion as it really is the one of the best sites at what it does. Camberwell college of art has a lot to answer for , but hey we love it. Second only to love and

  5. Sardax says:

    He actual pisses for her . I remember distinctly the command – “pisses-lui sur le visage” (piss on his face) . As I was learning French at the time I was pleased to be able to pick it up!

  6. Lee Harvey Osmond says:

    Fascinating movie. Remember seeing it many years ago.

    Of course, there was the car crash scene where he, how shall I put it, pulled out without indicating

  7. Lee Harvey Osmond says:

    Fascinating movie. Saw it once on British network television many years ago.

    Of course there was the car crash scene where, as I recall, he may well have Pulled Out without indicating

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