4 posts categorized "Sexploitation"

April 10, 2018

LAST TANGO IN PARIS

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

Last_tango_in_parisBorn of Bernardo Bertolucci's fantasies about carrying on a purely sexual affair with a complete stranger, Marlon Brando's Paul and Maria Schneider's Jeanne meet regularly in an empty Parisian apartment for unbridled sexual trysts. Paul insists that neither one reveal their names or express any elements of their lives outside their insular world.

Theirs is a relationship built purely on carnal intention and experimentation. The stark atmosphere that Bertolucci creates allows for sensual realism to thrive.

Lasttango

Jeanne doesn't know that Paul is coping with his wife's recent suicide. Paul knows nothing of Jeanne's obsessive filmmaker boyfriend Tom (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who is on the brink of proposing to Jeanne.

Lasttango

Written with assistance from Franco Arcalli and Anges Varda, Bertolucci plays liberally with dualities to address deep-seeded emotions that can only be expressed indirectly. Even the filmmaker’s noir-influenced image system plays with angles.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 5.08.20 PM

For the first time, Paul drinks with Tom, his wife's neighbor and former lover, who wears the same robe as Paul. The over-enthusiastic Tom represents an outwardly preoccupied inversion of Paul, who tests Jeanne's temperamental boundaries in similar but altered ways.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 5.08.32 PM

After revealing his identity and troubled situation, Paul tells Jeanne, "When something's finished, it begins again." He breaks the carefully guarded code the lovers have adhered to up until now. Paul's sudden turn from cynic to optimist (late in the story) must be punished. His refusal to adhere to his own rules is unacceptable. Not everything is permitted.

Lasttango

For all of the critical and public controversy about “Last Tango” being a pornographic film at the time of its release, the movie is a painstakingly theatrical mood piece that relies heavily on judiciously coded musical cues from Gato Barbieri's repeated motifs.

Lasttango

Significant is Philippe Turlure's bold art direction that draws on the work of the artist Francis Bacon. Two of Bacon's paintings introduce the film during its opening credit sequence. They influence the look of the movie’s saturated color scheme for the interior of the apartment where much of the story takes place. A two-foot high rust colored waterline surrounds the interior walls as if to suggest that the apartment had been submerged in a mixture of blood and water for an extended period during its storied past. The ravages of wars fought have left their mark here.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 5.08.44 PM

“Last Tango in Paris” is a masterwork of post-modern existential angst that attempts to reconcile a depth of social existence through its sexually liberated characters.

Rated NC-17. 129 mins.

5 Stars

Mike broke out Wavy Tropics Guava Pale Ale from Kills Boro Brewing for our discussion of Bertolucci's LAST TANGO IN PARIS even if we had planned to do Lars von Trier's MANDERLAY for this, our 99th episode. Check out my silent shout-out to THE STRYPES if you go to ColeSmithey.com. Bon appetite!

Screen Shot 2021-03-29 at 8.47.05 PM

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

April 11, 2016

A REAL YOUNG GIRL — CLASSIC FILM PICK

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

A-real-young-girl

Catherine Breillat announced her status as a feminist enfant terrible at the age of 17 with her sex-filled debut novel l’Homme facile (“A Man for the Asking”). The French government promptly banned the book for anyone under 18. Although it might seem tame by modern standards, "A Real Young Girl" was, and is, a brave transgressive film from a fearless woman filmmaker with a singular uncompromising vision for the coming of age story she wanted to tell.

Arealyounggirl

By the time she made “A Real Young Girl” Breillat (pronounced Bray-yah) had acted in Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris” and Edouard Molinaro’s “Dracula and Son” opposite Christopher Lee. Such practical experiences paved the way for a filmmaker whose furious first effort would be delayed for nearly a quarter century. “A Real Young Girl” was made in 1976, but not released until 1999 due to the “shocking” nature of the work. Criminal.

Realyoung5

Based on her novel “Le soupirail,” this [ostensibly] autobiographical story is set in Breillat’s hometown of Niort, France. Alice Bonnard is a physically developed 14-year-old girl visiting her mom and dad while on summer vacation from boarding school. Charlotte Alexandra (“Immoral Tales”) was 20 when she played the role of Alice, but is credible and her performance is spectacular.

CharlotteAlexandra

“A Real Young Girl” is a brave coming-of-age reverie expressed with unbridled honesty by a canny young author fascinated with every erotic detail of the substances that discharge from her body at regular intervals.

A-real-young-lady

Alice is a prolific producer of runny earwax that she smears on the family tablecloth. Sexual thoughts consume her every waking minute. Young girls get horny, who knew?

Realyoung4

Our unreliable young protagonist narrates the film with intimate reflections about her parents, her intolerance of other people, and about her budding, albeit messy, sexuality. Alice’s provincially minded folks (Rita Maiden and Bruno Balp) are as flawed versions of adults as you will find anywhere in the history of film.

Real Young Girl1

The movie has a raw sensibility in keeping with the natural savagery of wanton libidos in close proximity to one another. A scene in which Alice probes her vagina with a spoon while her oblivious father sits next to her at the dinner table is unsettling, to say the least. There is reason to suspect that Alice’s father might yet molest her if he hasn’t already.

RealYoung

Cinematographers Pierre Fattori and Patrick Godaert share camera duties in giving the picture its deceptively unpolished appearance. Sequences screech and roar with an unbearable lustful tension. Breillat’s jarring use of soundscape is masterful.

Real Young Girl

The rebel filmmaker’s insatiable desire for intimate truths, dips into the phantasmagoric. Graphically explicit sex-fantasy sequences are at once shocking and recognizable. During once such scene, Jim, a twentysomething stud (played by Hiram Keller) tears off pieces of an earthworm that he presses inside Alice’s wet vagina. Alice will not be tamed, but she must be sated. Finding a lover who can provide birth control pills might hold the key to Alice’s sexual liberation.  

Real Young Girl2

Alice says things like, “Disgust makes me lucid.” She enjoys vomiting on herself in bed for its sickly smell and the warmth it provides on her ample chest. She’s a country girl in touch with the everyday brutalities of such regular tasks as killing and cleaning a chicken, something she does with her mother before imagining herself crawling around on the ground (with feathers protruding from her anus) in front of Jim, who works for Alice’s father at a nearby sawmill.

A_Real_Young_Girl

While the film could be construed as pornographic in nature, the intention of the narrative function is clearly to examine the psyche and sexuality of a young girl within the political and social context of Niort, France circa 1963. A television newscast reports General de Gaulle’s dissolution of parliament. A local shopkeeper (played by Shirley Stoler) is none too pleased about Alice’s tempting ways and lets Alice’s mother know it.

Charlotte-alexandra3

Breillat’s magically real tale of sexual adventure owes a debit to Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” and to J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” The character of Alice is after all a female archetype born of the same hunger for individuality and sexual expression as the teenage male protagonists of Roth and Salinger. “A Real Young Girl” retains a fresh sense of transgressing taboos. The melodramatic flourish that Breillat uses to end the story gives a knowing wink to say that this filmmaker knows exactly what she’s doing. Bravo.

Realyounggirl

Not Rated. 90 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

September 28, 2010

KEN PARK

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Ken ParkIt's ironic that Larry Clark's most cogent treatise on America's embattled relationship with its unwanted children will likely never receive distribution in the country of its origin. California's armpit town of Visalia serves as a breeding ground for suicide and familial abuse. With a script by Harmony Korine, Clark establishes the film's nature with a skateboarder named Ken Park who goes to a local skate park to blow his brains out on the sculpted cement.

Kenpark

The deceased "Krap Nek," as he was called by his friends, serves as an associational connecting point for his teenaged pals Shawn (James Bullard), Claude (Stephen Jasso), Tate (James Ransone), and Peaches (Tiffany Limos), whose separately enunciated personal stories point to greater social ills of the community.

KEN PARK

Shawn is sleeping with his girlfriend's oversexed mother Rhonda (Maeve Quinlan) during the day while her husband is away at work. Rhonda's youngest daughter watches soft-core porn in the dining room while mom get busy with her adolescent conquest.

Screen Shot 2022-04-16 at 3.51.20 PM

Claude clips his pregnant mother's (Amanda Plummer) toenails when he isn't dodging the wrath of his hateful alcoholic father (Wade Williams). He spends time hanging out with his pot-smoking skate pals in their clubhouse apartment.

Kenpark.cole.smithey

Tate is a remorseless sociopath who can't conceal his furious contempt for his well-meaning grandparents or for his three-legged dog.

Screen Shot 2022-04-16 at 3.51.30 PM

Peaches carries on a love affair with her well-mannered boyfriend who appears to meet with the approval of Peaches's religiously-obsessed widowed father (Julio Oscar Mechoso).

Colesmithey.com
The identifications of social classes are significant the film's theme of endangered children. All of the kids come from lower class homes. Shawn spends most of his time at Rhonda's middle class house as an escape route that he constantly obsesses over. A post-coital conversation between he and Rhonda makes up one of the best scenes in the film because it directly speaks to the disparate motivations of both characters.

Kenpark
Larry Clark's cinema has, if nothing else, very specifically delineated the line drawn by the American court's decency standards under the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act (generally referred to as "2257"). Without Clark adhering to the code, I could not have screened "Ken Park" at Manhattan's School of Visual Arts as part of their series on art and censorship.

Kenpark

Still applicable in the 21st century is Judge John M. Woolsey's 1932 decision that James Joyce's "Ulysses" was "not pornographic." One idea expressed during the trial, which took place between World War I and World War II, was if the content "made you want to throw up" then it was art; if on the other hand it sexually aroused the reader then it must be "pornography." 

Kenpark2

While "Ken Park" is an example of exploitation cinema, it effectively pulls back the curtain on a pervasive aspect of American culture that a film like "Precious" deals with from an African American perspective. The eroticism in "Ken Park"— as when Claude's father molests him while the boy sleeps, or when Rhonda ties her boyfriend up to her bed — is there to explicate subconscious aspects of the characters' inner lives. It is a shocking film, but not one that should be banned.

Colesmithey.com

Not Rated. 96 mins.

3 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday


Podcast Series