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Special Treatment

Special Treatment

Sans queue ni tête

Jeanne Labrune

  • Country: France, Luxembourg, Belgium
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: French
  • Producer: Jani Thiltges
  • Screenplay: Jeanne Labrune, Richard Debuisne
  • Runtime: 95
  • Programmes:

A high class prostitute and an eminent psychoanalyst discover that they share many things in common. They are both unhappy with their professions, seeking a way out that involves unique contact with each other's worlds.


screening times

    • Tuesday September 14
    • 6:00:00 PM
    • Saturday September 18
    • 9:00:00 AM
    • Tiff Bell LightBox 1
    • Sunday September 19
    • 6:45:00 PM

Note: indicates Premium Screening.

official description

Isabelle Huppert is a consummate risk taker. She continues to star in independent films that deal with controversial subjects, thus pushing herself into new territory and roles that confound and astonish. In Special Treatment she plays a high-class prostitute against an unlikely backdrop: the world and culture of psychoanalysis. Writer-director Jeanne Labrune draws fearless parallels between these seemingly different realms.

Alice (Huppert) plays host to a wild diversity of well-heeled, middle-aged men, all of whom act out or play a series of roles, mostly childish and harmless. Living in an entirely separate world is Xavier (Bouli Lanners), a well-respected psychoanalyst – an uptight, angry, calculating man – who has his share of strange and weird patients. When Xavier’s marriage starts to unravel, a friend of his gives him Alice’s number. When Alice decides that maybe she has seen enough of the seamy underbelly of French masculinity, explaining “I am an empty armour – a numb body but with a brain that still works”, she decides to seek professional help. Xavier comes to her as a client, while she “auditions” a series of psychoanalysts. The rest of the film deals with Alice and Xavier as each of them attempts to work through their respective problems.

If Special Treatment sounds as if it will turn into schematic cliché, it doesn’t. Apart from the strength of Huppert’s remarkable performance (it seems she is capable of anything), Labrune manages to combine the surrealism and play-acting of Belle du jour with a solid dose of bourgeois angst and a feminist desire for escape from prescribed roles. While odd and unsettling at first (we are not sure exactly what is going on and who is doing what to whom), the film settles into an absorbing and penetrating analysis of unhappiness and people’s attempts to transcend the drudgery and routine of their daily lives.

Piers Handling

director bio

Jeanne Lebrune was born in Berry Bouy, France and studied studying literature, philosophy and fine arts before turning to directing. Her films are La Part de l’autre (85), De Sable et de sang (88), Sans Un Cri (92), Vatel (00) and Sans queue ni tête (10).

full credits

Principal Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Bouli Lanners, Richard Debuisne
Jani Thiltges
Virginie Saint Martin
Anja Lüdcke
Carlo Thoss
André Mergenthaler
Production Designer:
Régine Constant
International Sales Agent:
 Films Boutique
Production Company:
Liaison Cinématographique
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