Our Rating: ★★☆☆☆
L Factor: Major lesbian content
Short Take: Classic erotic French boarding school romance between two girls. Sensuous with nudity.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 1968
Duration: 118 min
Language: France, USA, Netherlands/English
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Radley Metzger
Writer: Violette Leduc, Jesse Vogel
Starring: Barbara Laage, Ann Vernon, Simone Paris, Remy Longa, Essy Persson, Anna Gael

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Therese and Isabelle

“Oh Therese” “Oh Isabelle” … oh no. Filmed in French in 1968, this is an erotic lesbian classic, but for modern viewers, it can be somewhat tedious. It moves very slooooowly, with longing glances and dramatic music.

Therese (Essy Persson) is a teenager sent to boarding school when her mother remarries and essentially abandons her daughter. There she meets Isabelle (Anna Gaël), a much more carefree and life experienced girl, and the two become fast friends.

The story is told in flashback as an adult Therese revisits the old school and recalls her first love. The girls, played by women who look much too old for the parts, soon start kissing and caressing in bathroom stalls and the chapel. Love scenes are not explicit, but sensual with nudity, and they are poetically narrated by the adult Therese, who uses such phrases as “secret pearl.”

They promise to never leave one another, but as one might expect for a film of this time, all doesn’t end well. Soon after they spend a night together in the woods, Isabelle’s parents take her out of the school, leaving a heartbroken Therese all alone again.

Directed by Radley Metzger and based on the novel by Violette Leduc. Available dubbed in English or in the original French.(AB)