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Therese and Isabelle

USA, English, 118 mins

  • Director: Radley Metzger
  • Writer: Violette Leduc; Jesse Vogel
  • Producer: Radley Metzger

CGiii Comment

All the schoolgirls look like they are nearing their late 20s...if you can overlook that little fact, you may be in for a little surprise.

By no means is it a great film - far from it - but, it is an example of (un)exploitative 60s film-making and a rather sympathetic look at teenage sexuality without vast quantities of exploitative nudity and garish sex scenes.

Interesting for those interested in early(ish) lesbian cinema...made by a man who liked to exploit.


Trailer...

The(ir) Blurb...

An older woman visits the boarding school of her youth after a 20 year absense. While strolling about the deserted grounds and classrooms she remembers her highly emotional experiences there, and well-executed flashbacks occur to her youth. At 17, she is abandoned by her loving mother because of remarriage and left at a European boarding school, disenchanted and lonely.

Immediately she meets Isabell, an older, confident, rebellious girl. The two develop a friendship quickly without much conversation or bonding, but have the always temporary chemistry necessary for their friendship to progress into a sexual relationship. The sex scenes are slow and sensual - as they should be for two young girls experiencing lesbianism for the first time. Despite their undying love confessions to each other, Theresa wakes up one morning to find Isabell has left the school, her room and desk replaced with another student. She never sees Isabell again.


Based on the novel by Violette Leduc, Therese and Isabelle begins with a woman visiting the school grounds of her youth; the buildings are empty, so she speaks “to the ghosts.” Memories from 20 years prior flash into her mind, and she recalls a budding sapphic tryst with a free-spirited classmate. Metzger crafts this saga of first love with emotional honesty and a sensual visual intelligence—no wonder Kathy Acker once wrote that she wanted her dreams to be like Therese and Isabelle.

Cast & Characters

Essy Persson as Therese;
Anna Gael as Isabelle;
Barbara Laage as Therese's Mother;
Anne Vernon as Mlle. Le Blanc;
Simone Paris as The Madame;
Maurice Teynac as Mons. Martin;
Remy Longa as Pierre;
Nathalie Nort as Renee;
Darcy Pulliam as Agnes;
Suzanne Marchellier as Mlle. Germain;
Bernadette Stern as Francoise;
Sege Geeraert;
Martine Leclerc as Martine;
Edith Ploquin;
Alexandra Kabes

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