Directed by Lina Mannheimer (Sweden/France, 2014). The Ceremony, a film about love and friendship, depicts cross-border relationships where dominance and submission are central. Audiences meet the fascinating and unusual writer Catherine Robbe-Grillet and those closest to her.

Catherine Robbe-Grillet, a sharp intellectual born in 1930, published her first book, L’image, in 1956. It was banned and publicly burned in Paris. After more than 50 years of exploring eroticism and the world of sadomasochism, today Robbe-Grillet is widely considered France’s most famous dominatrix.

Intimate material reveals documentary participants sharing views on art, norms, identity, ageing, loneliness, friendship, and love. The spectator is invited into a fascinating, evocative, and private world depicting staged, stylized sadomasochist ceremonies based on Robbe-Grillet’s universe.

The Ceremony takes audiences far beyond the prejudiced, simplistic, and cliché-ridden perceptions of sadomasochism. S/M may be a central theme of the film, but is not viewed solely as an exotic phenomenon. The issues raised here take viewers far beyond sexual orientation.

The Ceremony delves into what motivates decisions, not only those concerning desire and sexuality, but behavior in general. Sadomasochist practices and codes serve simply as a magnifying glass through which the driving forces of the individual are defined and examined.

75 min. | In French with English subtitles.


A Q & A with director Lina Mannheimer and production designer Elle Kunnos de Voss follows the screening.

Co-presented with the Consulate General of Sweden in New York.

About the director

Lina Mannheimer holds an M.A. from the School of Film Directing at Göteborg University and a degree in Film and Art History from Universidad de Nebrija, Madrid. She also studied at Stockholm School of Economics, at the Master of Science Program (MSc) in Business Administration.

Following internships in New York and London (Salty Features and The Weinstein Company), Mannheimer met French director Gilles Bourdos (Inquiétudes, 2003; Afterwards/Et Après, 2008; Renoir, 2012) and worked as his assistant for one year.

In 2009 Mannheimer began working on The Ceremony, which following its release was nominated for numerous awards, including Best Nordic Documentary at the Gothenburg International Film Festival (2015) and the Nordic Dox Award at CPH: DOX (2014). The film had its North American premiere at this year’s edition of SXSW. The Contract/Kontraktet (2010), her award winning debut short film, constituted the first part of The Ceremony. Mannheimer is currently in development of a television series.

About the production designer

Elle Kunnos de Voss is a New York City-based Swedish production designer and creative director of The Metrics Design Group. Her work ranges from award-winning architectural design projects to production design for film, set and costume design for performing arts, as well as writing for the stage.

Kunnos de Voss holds an M.A. from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design. In 2004 she moved to New York and co-founded The Metrics shortly thereafter. As creative director of The Metrics she has completed architectural and interior design projects in New York, Europe, and Asia. Her projects have been featured on television and in books and magazines across the world.

In addition to running The Metrics, Kunnos de Voss has completed production design for films in Sweden and the U.S., designed sets and costumes for performing arts productions in Holland, Sweden, and the U.S., and is currently developing two scripts for stage. One of them is her first opera, The Echo Drift, co-created with Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, which premiered at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C. last December and is scheduled for a New York premiere in January 2017.

Other recent projects include production design for Anna Gutto’s End Run (2014) and Nina Gielen’s Mother Puppet (2014); set design for Born of a Fairytale by Vacant Lot Theatre Company (2015) and The Misanthrope by Hunger and Thirst Theatre (2013); and mask design for Götafilm’s Pojkarna – directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining and opening in Sweden fall 2015.



Image by Daniel Takàcs.

THU – 10-8-2015 – 7:00 PM
$10 ($7 ASF Members)