Seduction. Since her husband’s death, the attractive Madame de La Pommeraye has retired into virtual seclusion on her estate, until she finds herself being wooed by the dashing Marquis des Arcis, a notorious womanizer.
She first resists, then succumbs to, his advances and falls for the charming cad. So begins the French period movie Mademoiselle de Joncquieres.
Betrayal. It’s a few years in and the marquis, predictably, has lost interest in their union, and his attentions are drawn elsewhere. When his infidelity is addressed, madame buries her feelings and maintains a phony platonic friendship with him, choosing to keep him close while she concocts her plan to get even.
Revenge. The spurned madame is wounded and wealthy enough to bring real commitment to her vengeance. She hires a young, beautiful prostitute, Mademoiselle de Joncquieres, to pose as a devoutly religious virgin, the sort of innocent that a rogue like the marquis cannot resist. He is instantly smitten, leading to an amusing series of scenes during which he desperately attempts to capture the Mademoiselle’s fancy. As madame orchestrates the marquis’ obsession with the young woman, her elaborate and somewhat cruel plan to humiliate him is underway.
This is where the funny and engaging film takes a darker turn yet becomes all the more enjoyable with a little elegantly nasty fun. This tale of deception has plenty of twists and turns as it builds to a surprising and quite satisfying conclusion.
Artfully directed and highly entertaining, Mademoiselle de Joncquieres plays twice on Oct. 12, at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at the Salmar Classic Cinema.