- Director: Radley Metzger
- Writer: Violette Leduc; Jesse Vogel
- Producer: Radley Metzger
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.
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.