With ultra-sleazy exploitation titles like Jesus Franco’s Bloody Moon, several entries from the Black Emanuelle series, and even the more recent issue of the highly controversial The Sinful Dwarf, it’s a bit off to see Severin Films releasing a decidedly non-exploitation title like The Hairdresser’s Husband from French filmmaker Patrice Leconte.
In The Hairdresser’s Husband, writer/director Leconte, along with his co-author Claude Kotz (they would later bring us Man On The Train in 2002, which is currently being remade), bring us the very touching and charming (if fetishistic) tale of Antoine (the magnificent Jean Rochefort), who developed a sexual obsession early in life for hairdressers, partially (or mostly) due to the presence of a very voluptuous village stylist.
Like many young boys do, Antoine grows up to be a man, and his desire to marry a hairdresser leads him to cooing and wooing a young shop owner named Mathilde (Anna Galiena), which eventually leads to marriage. Mathilde is perfectly understanding towards Antoine’s character and she too enjoys the life they live together. But, as just about anyone can tell you, there comes a point in your life that you realize that it won’t last forever — leading to one of the most selfishly selfless and extremely memorable “romantic” endings ever seen in French cinema.
While it is very odd to see a critic quote from Roger Ebert on the front of a Severin Films DVD, it’s also a nice change of pace. It’s also nice to see Severin release a non-psychotronic genre title, and The Hairdresser’s Husband gets a wonderful treatment with a superb anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. The colors and balance here are beautiful, and only add to the film’s deliciously subtle flavor. The French stereo surround soundtrack receives no negative remarks from me, and the main presentation features optional English subtitles.
Two featurettes are included on this release, the first of which is “Leconte On Leconte, Part 1” (36:14), an interview with the film’s director that is in French with English subtitles (Part 2 of this interview is included on another Leconte/Severin release, The Perfume Of Yvonne). The second featurette, “The Hairdresser’s Recollections” (17:41) interviews actress Anna Galiena (who has only grown more beautiful with time and conducts her interview in English with nary a trace of an accent). Both special features contain spoilers, so watch the damn movie first. The last extra on the disc is the original French trailer (1:22).
A disturbingly haunting tale of passion, The Hairdresser’s Husband is by and far the most “normal” release to emerge out of Severin’s library. Nevertheless, it will be enjoyed by both the regular fans of Severin titles and foreign romance aficionados alike.