Based on the novel by Violette Leduc, Therese and Isabelle begins with a woman visiting the school grounds of her youth; the buildings are empty, so she “speaks to the ghosts.” Memories from 20 years prior flash into her mind, and she recalls a budding sapphic tryst with a free-spirited classmate. Metzger crafts this saga of first love with emotional honesty and a sensual visual intelligence—no wonder Kathy Acker once wrote that she wanted her dreams to be like Therese and Isabelle. Complementing this masterly softcore effort is No Help Needed, a rare fragment of vintage lesbian pornography from the personal collection of filmmaker and queer film programmer Jenni Olson.

No Help Needed
Director unknown, USA, ca. 1940, 16mm, 6m

Therese and Isabelle
Radley Metzger, France/USA/Netherlands/West Germany, 1968, 35mm, 118m