The Libertine (1969 film)

The Libertine (La Matriarca; a.k.a. The Matriarch) was a 1969 Italian film directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile.

The Libertine
Directed byPasquale Festa Campanile
Produced bySilvio Clementelli
Radly Metzger
Written byNicolò Ferrari,
Ottavio Jemma
StarringCatherine Spaak
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Gigi Proietti
Music byArmando Trovajoli
CinematographyAlfio Contini
Edited bySergio Montanari
Clesi Cinemtografica
Finanziaria San Marco
Distributed byAudubon Films
Release date
15 May 1969
Running time
90 mins
Box office128,378 admissions (France)
$359,883 (Spain)[1]


This is a sex comedy film about Mimi (Catherine Spaak), a young widow who discovers that her recently deceased husband kept a secret apartment for his kinky desires. Frustrated that he did not explore his sexual fantasies with his wife, she embarks on a quest to understand perversion and sexuality. She uses her late husband's apartment to seduce various men, each time learning more about the depths of human depravation, as well as the extent of the sexual double standard for women (late in the film, she states, "I notice men only call me a whore when I say no. Or stop saying yes."

Finally, she meets the man who shares himself fully with her, appreciates her sexual daring and accepts her for whoever she is.



The New York Times said the film was "not nearly as clever, sophisticated and amusing as it archly pretends."[2] The Guardian called it "pseudo-sophisiticated, so fake as to be positively sick making and, what is more, thoroughly unerotic."[3] The Washington Post complained "the film's own attitudes are far too conventional".[4] The Los Angeles Times thought the movie was "at times... pretty hot stuff... has a little more style and wit than most Radley Metzger releases."[5] The Chicago Tribune thought the film was "more clumsy than clever... just as unimaginative as the film it attempts to parody."[6]

See also


  1. Box office information for the film at Box Office Story
  2. Screen: Restless Widow: The Libertine' Stars Catherine Spaak Thompson, Howard. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 May 1969: 41.
  3. The slow, the bad, and Buster Malcolm, Derek. The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 15 Aug 1969: 6.
  4. A Comic 'Libertine' By Gary Arnold. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 16 Aug 1969: C6.
  5. MOVIE REVIEW: 'Libertine' Westwood Run Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Aug 1969: e19.
  6. The Movies: 'The Libertine' Clifford, Terry. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 25 Aug 1969: a9.
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