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Immoral Tales (1974) - Walerian Borowczyk

Related: Walerian Borowczyk - André Pieyre de Mandiargues - 1974 films - Immoral Tales - European cinema - Euro trash

"You don't have to go to a museum to see an X-rated Picasso".

Erzsébeth Bathory segment from Contes Immoraux (Immoral Tales) (1974) - Walerian Borowczyk
image sourced here. [Mar 2005]

Immoral Tales (1974) - Walerian Borowczyk [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Immoral Tales (1974) - Walerian Borowczyk [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Immoral...no. More exploitative than anything else

With the reputation Walerian Borowczyk (boroh-chick) had, I eagerly sprang to get this video ages ago. I just saw it again and well,... anyway, this quartet of stories features tales that are more exploitative in showing copious amounts of female genitalia rather than being immoral.

The Tide, based on a story by André Pieyre de Mandiargues, is set in contemporary France (then 1975) about a twenty-year old man who seduces his sixteen year-old cousin Julie, on the beach, using his age difference to bend her to his will. He is a bit of a bossy sort, and I was surprised to see her obey him meekly. It's mostly talky, with some pompous dialogue of the using the rise of tides as analogous to his desire of her. There's a nice close-up of Julie's lips and she looks nice in the altogether. Even so... (Rating: 3 out of 5)

Therese the Philosopher is about a religiously devout French girl in 1890 who is wrongfully punished and is locked in a room for three days. What happens in that room? To quote words she heard from God while at church: "Reveal yourself by showing your weakness, your sensuality, your pride, your craven, selfish indolence." And also, I'll never think of cucumbers the same way again. As for the story, so what? (Rating: 2.5 out of 5)

The next two stories are significantly better. The third story, Erzebet Bathory, has the notorious Blood Countess going to a village to round up young girls for her dastardly pleasures, under the masquerade of granting eternal bliss and grace for those touching her pearl-encrusted gown. This has about twenty or so girls in the altogether, and they go into a crazed frenzy when they see Bathory in her dress. Does Bathory have a bath? Find out for yourself (Rating: 4 out of 5)

The fourth story, set in 1498 Florence, would probably be considered immoral, as it involves Lucrezia Borgia having a threesome with Pope Alexander VI (her father Rodrigo) and a cardinal (her brother Cesare) while they send her impotent simp of an uptight husband, Giovanni Sforza away. Meanwhile, monk Hieronymous Savonarola rails against the immorality of the church, of priests openly displaying their sons, until he is captured and becomes Dominican barbeque. (Rating: 4 out of 5)

I think this quartet tried to subtly shock given the theme in each one. It doesn't do so effectively. However, for the sake of showing several nubile girls full frontal, I suppose this is more a curio than anything. Slow moving and more sensationalistic and exploitative than shocking. (Overall rating: (3+2.5+4+4)/4=3 --Daniel J. Hamlow for amazon.com

Paloma Picasso

Ah, the European anthology film. This long lost art of the '60s and '70s allowed notable directors of all stripes and nationalities to experiment with any number of running times and story genres, with a wide range of actors at their disposal. Polish director and former animator Walerian Borowczyk found his greatest international success with an artsy, ultra-erotic variation on this formula, Immoral Tales, for which he somehow managed to rope in Pablo Picasso's fashion-savvy daughter, Paloma, to portray the real life, bloodthirsty Erzebeth Bathory. Needless to say, the results are unlike anything else ever committed to celluloid. --Nathaniel Thompson via http://www.mondo-digital.com/immoraltales.html [Mar 2005]

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