Gigola : Lesbian gigolo
Laure Charpentier's melodrama Gigola follows a charismatic young girl on a steamy ride through the lesbian underworld of 60s Paris!
- Genre: Lesbian Film
- Runtime: 100 minutes
At once a genre film, a runway of popular French talent and a savvy modern drama. George (fashionista du jour, Lou Doillon) is a charismatic young woman who, after the death of her older female lover, embarks on a reckless journey through the Paris nightlife of the 60s as Gigola, a cross-dressing Gigolo exclusively for women. An impressive Dandy, Gigola fast collects clients and cash, drawing her ever closer to a world of crime and corruption.
Gigola Film Review
Gigola is set in 1960s Paris and follows the life of Georges (Lou Doillon), who has fashioned herself into the suave Gigola, the name she gives herself as a lesbian gigolo. Descending into the seedy underworld of Place Pigalle after the suicide of her lover, the film follows her loves, lusts, and the rocky relationship with her devout Catholic mother and gambling-addicted father, while she flirts with the mafia and is wooed by wealthy benefactors.
That narrative is based on the novel of the same name by Laure Charpentier that was censured when it was first published in 1972, and her later novel Pére, impair et passe. Charpentier shares credit for the adaptation with producer Denise Petitdidier, and directs the film herself.
Gigola‘s screen outing is brilliantly realised, and everything about it, from story to cinematography, is wonderfully suave. 1960s Paris looks and feels beautifully antiquated, but at the same time awash with colour and panache. Behind the champagne, the whiskey, and the sex, there is a shameless sense of humour and high camp that runs to its very heart.
Doillon is superb in the title role. Butch but incredibly beautiful, she is in brutal command of her own screen presence, and manages to make her character intimidating and authoritative, yet utterly alluring. She is supported by a superb cast, who play an array of larger-than-life characters with grace, pizzazz and heart. There simply isn’t the space to list every individual bravura performance.
The film is salaciously sexy, with an uninhibited sense of fun. The witty, catty script brims with nuance and sting, but has real power and drive when required. The sex scenes are smouldering and seductive – never sleazy or pornographic – and add another well crafted note to the film’s intricate timbre. Jean-Jacques Debout’s score adds a sassy sense of raunch mixed with a sprinkling of ‘bom-chicka-wah-wah’ irony, and the costumes are to die for; from Gigola’s beyond-dapper gentlemanly evening wear to the sumptuous frocks of lover and fellow gigola, Cara, doefully played by Marie Kremer.
The only thing with which fault can be found is the slightly-too-fast pace of the storyline at points: especially when reading the subtitles you can sometimes find yourself a little clueless as to what’s going on and clawing to get back on board with the narrative.
But despite this it is a fantastic film that will have you sashaying out of the cinema with purrs of ‘ooh la la’. The beauty and romance of sultry ‘gay Paris’ and the gaudy glamour of the raucous Pigalle nightlife are all captured gloriously in this striking movie. With its beautiful direction, sharp script, and superb cast, Gigola is nothing short of totally intoxicating. Magnifique! French, subtitled
Other Gigola Reviews:
• Gigola blends pulp and soft porn at London lesbian and gay film festival : www.guardian.co.uk/film
• "Gigola" follows a female gigolo in the 1960s French lesbian underworld: http://www.afterellen.com