I really enjoyed The Last Mistress, Catherine Breillat’s filmed version of d’Aurevilly’s novel. Look who am I kidding. d’Aurevilly means nothing to me, and I’ve never been a huge fan of Breillat’s sex comedies (such as the not that aptly named Sex Is Comedy). I’m here for Asia Argento, Dario’s daughter who is far and away one of the most unpredictably watchable screen presences of the moment. So whilst The Last Mistress may seem to be a pretty standard period costume drama, Argento being in it was more than enough to drag me along. And not only was I right to pick that, but the reason for it being any good at all is all down to Argento herself.
The key scene in The Last Mistress takes place just after a duel takes place. Our hero (telling this in flashback) loses said duel and has a serious chest wound. Argento turns up while he is being treated, steps in and savagely licks and pretty much fucks the wound. She then backs off and asks the barber surgeon if he will live. A nice snappy reply comes back, he has less chance now you’ve licked the wound. No matter to what extent this scene exists in the book (I doubt it) or in the script (possibly), but the essence of the scene completely comes from Argento’s on screen persona. The shock is inherent in how she does it, aggressive, petulant and always, always watchable.
She played a very different but equally unpredictable character in Transylvania last year, and has been playing such roles way back into the nineties in a number of languages (B.Monkey being a memorable example in English). And she is a true renaissance woman, writing, directing, knocking out the odd novel. Her imdb page is pretty packed for a woman of 32 – though one particularly wonders about the acting coach job on the Bruce Willis film Hostage. But there are very few actresses who I will pretty much seek out all of their work, and Asia has moved into that bracket. The Last Mistress is a fun costume drama, but I imagine very little outside the wound fucking scene will stick with me. But I think that scene will last a lot longer than most.
But can anyone tell me, whose maybe read the book, why its called the Last Mistress?