· The Finical Filmgoer ·
On a recent evening my dear friend, the tenuous Mademoiselle Hysterique, appeared at mon petite domicile with a tiny pink box of assorted pastries and a tittery ecphonesis regarding a foreign film of recent discovery. Gathering her at the door, we settled in for a private screening of Tolérance.
In a crumbling manoir on the outskirts of Paris, a group of aristocrats have escaped the guillotine. A vulgar gastronome (Ugo Tognazzi), his pious young wife Tolérance (Anne Brochet), her dyspeptic mother (Catherine Samie) and their retinue of bizarre guests bumble about in a self-indulgent, bewigged stupor when a shipment arrives, an inheritance from a deceased relation.
Among the furniture, draperies and bibelots on the wagon is a large, malodorous box, inside of which lurks a filthy, long-haired hermit (Rupert Everett). Via the genteel confabulation of the guests, we learn that having an ascète roaming around one's estate has become something of an effete fashion in Paris. What with the many overzealous who have been kicked out of the local monasteries, such eremites are available as a kind of living decoration to anyone with a bit of romantic woodland on the family demesne.
And thus the pet hermit is set loose to forage and pray and wander about in a picturesque holy madness on the grounds, to varying reactions among the eccentric residents. Enraptured, young Tolérance believes him a saint. Her husband prefers to use him for target practice during croquet, and her mother is repulsed to fainting — as well as obsessed by the erotic possibilities.
But after suffering for months at the hands of his subtly sadistic new owners, their barb-slinging cortege and his own taste for self-mortification, the hermit encounters a mystical revelation: he decides that his ultimate hair shirt — the most profound form of self-flagellation possible — would be to submit to the proferred tutelage of his master and allow himself to be transformed into a most decadent sensualist.
From 1989, Director Pierre-Henry Salfati's Tolérance is a gem of unusual color. M. Chariot and Mlle Hysterique were captivated by its convoluted charm from the very first frame.
Finical Filmgoer Reviews:
As illustration for this text, Monsieur Chariot utilized a
segment from Leonardo DaVinci's, St. John the Baptist