Thursday, 31 March 2011

Bárbara Goenaga in "Agnosia" [2010 Spain]

Eugenio Mira's sumptuous melodramatic thriller-romance "Agnosia" is one of the most visually stunning films I've seen this year.

Set in turn-of-twentieth century Barcelona, the story revolves around Joana, the daughter of an industrialist, with an unusual handicap that makes it difficult for her to distinguish shapes and sounds (Agnosia). Woven into the story is industrial espionage, and the lengths to which criminals go to exploit Joana's illness for extracting her father's secret formula. They kidnap her without her even noticing it, and force a recently dismissed male servant of Joana's household, Vicent, to take the place of Joana's fiancé Carles.

The screenplay is excellent, as is the direction. Not to mention the awesome cinematography and art direction - it was like watching a Visconti film. And all the actors give a sterling performance, in particular the beautiful Bárbara Goenaga who plays Joana. I wouldn't be surprised if it collects a few awards along the way. I've cut this compilation from an excellent quality DVD. This film can grace anyone's library. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Bárbara Goenaga in Agnosia

Scene guide:
  • Joana has an accident while bathing.
  • A panic-stricken Joana is consoled by Vicent (pretending to be Carles), and they end up making love - this is a beautiful and romantic scene.
  • A couple of scenes of Carles - first with a prostitute in an opium den (actress uncredited), and later with Joana.


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Elizabeth Cervantes in "Oscura Seducción" [2011 Mexico]

Walter Doehner's 2011 drama, "Oscura Seducción" [Eng. Title: Dark Seduction] is about a woman embarking on a passionate fling with her much younger colleague, only to find she's received much more than she bargained for. The film as a whole is just about average, let down by poor screenplay and performances from some of the main characters. But there are also some creditworthy aspects within the film, like the editing, cinematography and lighting. Doehner is generally a good director, and this isn't a bad film either, but it is not up to the standard of his earlier film "La Habitación Azul".

Laura is a cosmetic surgeon in whose successful practice young Gustavo had recently joined as an attendant. He wins her sympathy when he tells her about his need for this job to fund his medical studies. But Gustavo clearly wants more than that, and works on seducing his boss, and also succeeds rather easily - helped by the fact that Laura is single and sometimes lonely. He finds an excuse to move into her home, and promptly tries to take over her life. Laura gets fed up and asks him to leave. But she will realise that he's not one who's going to accept rejection that easily.

The scenes below were cut from DVD, and the quality is pretty good.

Scene 1:
This is an interesting scene where Laura inspects one of her patients, played by Mara Cuevas. Despite the surgeon's considered opinion, she seems bent on realigning her breasts and getting her ass tucked. Sometimes you wonder if women like these may be better off visiting a psychiatrist instead.

Mara Cuevas in Oscura Seducción

Compilation 1:
Made from two scenes - first is of Laura touching herself in bed. the second is after she invites Gustavo to come and help himself to some of her medical books. He helps himself alright! Laura is played by mamacita caliente Elizabeth Cervantes. The funny thing is, Cervantes plays the cosmetic surgeon, but she's the one who appears to have had her boobs done - correct me if I'm wrong.

Elizabeth Cervantes in Oscura Seducción

Compilation 2:
Made from three scenes. The first one is the longest, but for me, absolutely the 'highlight' of the entire film, when Laura has a post-coital conversation with Gustavo. For close to three minutes, Elizabeth Cervantes gives us an endearing view of her awesome ass (and some brief peeks of her labia too if you adjust the contrast). The scene had three camera positions, of which the above mentioned was the one most used in the edit. The second scene is when Laura gets annoyed with Gustavo's bitching for the first time - she avoids him in the shower, only to be taken by force. The third has no nudity, where Gustavo tries to rape Laura after she asks him to pack up and leave.

Elizabeth Cervantes in Oscura Seducción


Saturday, 26 March 2011

Monique van de Ven in "Turks Fruit" [1973 Netherlands]

Paul Verhoeven's 1973 wild romance "Turks Fruit" [Eng. Title: Turkish Delight] is considered by many in his country as the best Dutch film ever. And since I'm not Dutch, who am I to argue. I do however agree that it is a beautiful film, full of energy and vigour, and surprisingly, filled with tenderness. Surprising because the protagonist is an impetuous young sculptor who's initially portrayed as someone reckless and insincere. But as the film unfolds his past, we empathise and perhaps even excuse his excesses.

The film is a semi-autobiographical account of a sculptor-writer, upon whose novel by the same name this film is based. It tells the story of a passionate sculptor, Eric, his past life, and his present. The film is actually quite moving towards the end, but irreverent, sexy and funny all the way through. It is very well directed, shot, and edited, and the performances by all the main actors are top-notch The film was also nominated for an Oscar under Best Foreign Language Film category, and could have won if not for François Truffaut's "La Nuit Américaine".

As for the nude scenes in the film, they are considered among the all-time classics. Monique van de Ven, who plays Eric's wife Olga, is a sight to behold - films like these just don't get made nowadays. I've cut these scenes from an excellent quality DVD, and believe these may probably be among the best samples you can find today. If you do like these scenes, you'll definitely enjoy the full film, and should be well worth your investment. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Compilation 1:
The film starts with a quick catalogue of Eric's sexual conquests. They are wild, kinky, but mostly quite funny.
  1. Eric picks up a woman from a phone booth, and when she later asks for a 'souvenir', he obliges!
  2. He jumps into her car uninvited but somehow manages to bring her home. When she tries to take her top off, Eric asks her to put it back on and removes her panties instead - ostensibly to collect his 'trophy'!
  3. Eric with a rather religious girl, and a banana (?)
  4. Very funny scene of Eric with a young mum.
  5. Eric complains about her fat arse and tiny tits - the annoyed woman spots a photo and enquires about it. When she makes a casual remark, he throws her out onto the street naked.
  6. Eric brings home a girl but changes his mind after seeing one of his sculptures.
various unknown from Turks Fruit

Compilation 2: Made from three 'interesting' and explicit nude scenes
  1. Eric falls in love with Olga the minute he lays eyes on her. He also seems to be obsessed with her bodily fluids - when she needed to use the toilet midway through cunnilingus, he asks her to pee in her mouth instead.
  2. They soon get married and Eric is annoyed at the frequent interruptions.
  3. Olga and Eric at the beach - sexy and funny.
Monique van de Ven in Turks Fruit

Compilation 3: Has four scenes
  1. Eric is commissioned to make a sculpture for a hospital for which he uses Olga as his model. During a break Olga rushes out from the toilet believing she has cancer, Eric returns after inspecting the contents in the toilet bowl (omitted in my edit) and reassures her it was just the beetroot she had yesterday. He gives her a clean bill of health by pinning her ass with a flower.
  2. The Queen is visiting to unveil his sculpture, but the hospital authorities notice Olga's dress is revealing and try their best to keep them away from the Queen's sight.
  3. Singing and dancing in the rain - the scene begins rather romantically.
  4. Olga's mother had conspired to separate Olga and Eric. Eric sneaks into her room while she's asleep and tries to make love, and the horrible woman barges in and pulls him away.
Monique van de Ven in Turks Fruit


Friday, 25 March 2011

Monica Bellucci in "Combien tu m'aimes?" [2005 France, Italy]

Bertrand Blier is one of those directors you'd either love or simply hate. He is an often misunderstood satirist who let's a theme run its course, often to the most brutally honest conclusion, in the process throwing sentiment and wishful thinking out of the window.

M. Blier raises some interesting questions in his 2005 comedy drama, "Combien tu m'aimes?" [Eng. Title: How Much do you Love Me?] - what would you do if you won the lottery, can love be purchased, can a prostitute ever cease to be one, can an ordinary person dream beyond his means. His answers to all these questions are there in the film, if you care to see.

This film could have also made a rather good play because the screenplay and situations have a distinctly theatrical feel about it, and the characters are more or less caricatures of themselves. You have the dreary clerk, who propositions a prostitute to live with him - he intends to use the winnings from a lottery for this purpose, the prostitute who likes the idea of change but finds domestic bliss too humdrum, you have her pimp and husband who's caught between his innate obnoxious nature and feelings of love for her, and you have the clerk's friend - a doctor who pretends to live with a woman who had died years ago. All these characters play out their roles the way M. Blier sees it. And he shows the middle-finger to those who expect a 'conventional' ending. Even some Bertrand Blier fans hate this film, but they forget, this is the way he had always made his films.

There are only a few brief nude scenes in the film, but it is more than made up by the magnetic presence of one Monica Bellucci, who plays the Italian prostitute Daniela, whom bank clerk François hires as a live-in 'wife' for 100,000 Euro a month. Sig.ra Bellucci was already forty when she made this film, but gives womenkind a masterclass in the art of seduction and sensuality, using not much more than her eyes and body. If nothing else, the film is worth a sleepless night at least for those God-given curves. I've therefore included some non-nude but nevertheless sensual and funny scenes that I believe to be the 'visual' highlights of the film, cut straight from my DVD.

Compilation 1: a combination of several scenes:
  1. Daniela takes pity on François' low esteem and rewards him by being a loving wife.
  2. Daniela and François having sex in the car.
  3. An exhibitionist Daniela gives the poor old doctor heart failure when he's summoned to examine her nausea - she even throws up in the scene. But, is it just me who thinks even that is somewhat sexy? (I probably need to go and see somebody!)
  4. Mourning over, Daniela asks François to come with her to southern Italy.
Monica Bellucci in Combien tu m'aimes

Compilation 2 - made from several scenes:
  1. This is a funny scene - an annoyed neighbour, distracted by Daniela's loud moans, knocks on their door and asks Daniela not to pretend for the sake of it - she then goes to show them how a real orgasm would actually sound like! The neighbour is played by the sexy and funny Farida Rahouadj.
  2. Daniela is brought back home by Charly, her husband-pimp, after threatening poor old François over the consequences. But she's by now grown fond of François' gentle touch and doesn't quite like Charly's anymore. When questioned, she tells him that despite knowing who she was, François gave her back her modesty, to which Charly says he too could give her back her modesty. He summons his bodyguards in, and asks them to touch her all they want. Gérard Depardieu plays Charly, and this is probably the weakest character I've seen him play -  he was probably returning Blier a favour.
  3. When Charly allows Daniela to return back to François, she finds him busy shagging his next door neighbour. When she knocks on their door for an explanation, he excuses himself by saying he can't possibly leave her half way, and they ask for a few more minutes to finish the job!
  4. François lets Daniela know that he hadn't won the lottery after all, and it was just an excuse to get her to live with him. A furious Daniela also appears to be in love, and for a change, he takes her like a man. What's interesting is Blier shows Daniela crying with ecstasy while making love. Hmmm...!
Monica Bellucci and Farida Rahouadj in Combien tu m'aimes?


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Carolina Crescentini in "20 Sigarette" BR720 [2010 Italy]

I was checking out Aureliano Amadei's autobiographical film, "20 Sigarette" [Eng. Title 20 Cigarettes] - because it had won a clutch of awards in the Venice Film Festival last year. I wasn't expecting to find any nude scenes in it, but there was indeed a quick flash from Carolina Crescentini as she puts on a t-shirt in the bathroom. I've included a few seconds of some additional sexy moments for the sake of this post, but they're nothing special - this is just for the record.

The film however is very well made, with some fine cinematography and screenplay. For a debut, it is an impressive achievement for Mr. Amadei, and I believe he'll do pretty well as a writer-director.

Amadei, an aspiring actor, finds himself chosen as an assistant director for a film which happens to be shot in Iraq just after the invasion. But on the very first day of their shoot, they come under attack and Amadei is among the few lucky to have survived. The rest of the film is about his coming to terms with what happened and re-evaluating his life. Ms. Crescentini plays Claudia, Amadei's friend and love interest. Recommended Viewing.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Elena Serrano in "Ingrid" [2010 Spain]

Eduard Cortés' powerful Catalan drama "Ingrid" tells the story of a young performance artist - Ingrid, as observed by her neighbour, Àlex.

Ingrid befriends Àlex when he moves in to her block, and introduces him to her circle of friends, some of them fellow artists, but some, plain weirdos. The fascinated Àlex finds Ingird to be a free-spirited woman, pretty wild at times. She's also bisexual, and performs some extreme acts involving pain as part of her routines. We're also told a different story as the film progresses - about her erstwhile engagement to a French guy, who died in an 'accident', and how from then on, she has this need to experience physical pain through her art. The plot however turns sinister when Ingrid keeps meeting a group of men, led by her dead boyfriend's father at an abandoned mansion.

The film is technically superb with excellent cinematography, sound and lighting, and the editing is spot-on. The characterisation of the protagonists are well rounded and overall, it is a very well made film. Ingrid is played by cute, pretty and talented debutant, Elena Serrano. The scenes below were cut from a DVD.

Compilation 1:
Made from four scenes:
  1. Andrea the model, played by Lavinia Villa refuses to wear the mummy costume created for one of Ingrid's performance pieces, and Ingrid takes her place in this bizarre show. Other assorted nudes appear.
  2. The after-party spills into Ingrid's flat and Àlex wakes up to see Ingrid busy with a guy. When he asks her later if he's her boyfriend, she says he's just for fun - and that she prefers Mónica instead.
  3. Ingrid and Monica making out - no nudity but sexy. Mónica is played by Marta Morera.
  4. Ingrid tells a disappointed Diego not to get carried away, and that they're not in any serious relationship.
Elena Serrano in Ingrid

Compilation 2: No nudity
  1. Ingrid's friend Bea showing off her tattoo to Àlex. There's also a quick downblouse when Bea bends over to pick up something. Bea is played by Iris Aneas.
  2. A couple of performances by Ingrid - for those with special interest in the subject of bondage. The effects, if it indeed is the case, is quite convincing in the last scene.
Iris Aneas and Elena Serrano in Ingrid


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ingrid Caven & Isolde Barth in "In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden" [1978 W.Germany]

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1978 film, "In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden" [Eng. Title: In a Year of Thirteen Moons] is a deeply affecting portrait of unrequited love, loss and pain. The film is a tragedy, but it is also beautiful, and apparently one of Fassbinder's more personal films. The interviews in the DVD extras reveal a director in turmoil after his former lover's suicide a few months earlier, which lead to the making of this film.

I normally don't relish films with this kind of subject - the protagonist is a post-operative transexual - he had become a woman hoping to please someone he loved, but who never returns his love. But it is the poetic narrative, coupled with the extraordinary performance of the actor playing Elvira (Volker Spengler) that lift the film to greatness. This is a romantic film, which can easily relate to people despite their sex or orientation. I'm only just discovering Fassbinder - this being my third, but if any of his other films in my excellent DVD volume come close to this, I must be in for a treat. Highly Recommended Viewing!

There is very little nudity in the film and whatever there is, is purely incidental, not in any way relevant to the main story. First is of Fassbinder-regular Ingrid Craven who plays Zora, flashing at a guy while he works his biceps - despite knowing he is gay. In the latter part, we have the wife of Elvira's therapist Sybille, played by Isolde Barth, listening to a tape from his earlier session.

Ingrid Caven & Isolde Barth in In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden


Monday, 21 March 2011

Luisa Ranieri & Regina Nemni in "Eros" [2004 Italy]

I will start Michelangelo Antonioni's filmography here with his last film. "Eros" is a compilation of three films made by different directors, exploring love and romance as the title suggests.

European cinema has had so many great directors over the years (and still do), and Michelangelo Antonioni would be among the top five or six. He is also my favourite Italian director, and therefore duty-bound to writing a few lines about his genius.

Antonioni's films intensely engage the audience mind - there are very few films of his that you could get away with a casual eye. His trademark scenes are long takes with the camera following the character a few feet away, to give the audience a disconnected but detailed view of his subject. Even today, you see several young directors, particularly from Latin America inspired by this style of film making. His films mainly delve into the void in human relationships - his characters tend do things to conform, be accepted, and succeed outwardly, but are nevertheless melancholic and empty within.

Back to "Eros" - his segment titled, "Il Filo Pericoloso delle Cose" [Eng. Title: The Dangerous Thread of Things] has been slated by some critics, citing the obvious sexual scenes, and alluding to later-life sexual fantasies of an old man - he was in his 90's when the film was made. But I find the criticism unjustified and need to put this in perspective.

All three segments in the film deal with different stages of a couple's relationship. While the first segment concerns unrequited love between a prostitute and her tailor, and the second with a man's stress at work threatening to derail a happy marriage, the last - Antonioni's segment is about a couple's relationship that has gone stale, but where both are weary of being the one having to call it a day. They're on holiday at a southern coastal village, in the hope of rekindling their romance.

For a start, this is certainly the most difficult of all segments where you need to explore the film's theme when romance is non-existent, and love, strained. This resonates with his earlier 1961 classic, "La Notte" [The Night], where a couple's relationship had similarly reached an impasse, but where it differs is in the conclusion. While it is all doom and gloom in the former, 'The Dangerous Thread' bring them back together through a catalyst, in the form of a free-spirited woman living next door. Antonioni manages to deliver the film's theme while leaving us to wonder whether this 'arrangement' is going to last - we can see he wasn't going to change his own convictions in a hurry for the sake of this film. I think these critics need to revisit this film with a more open mind - give the man a chance, will you guys!

The scenes for this post were cut from the 'Mei Ah' DVD - uncut, and with the original and mainly English soundtrack. I'd recommend this over the Warner and Artificial Eye editions, both dubbed into Italian during post-production, with some scenes needlessly cut.

Scene 1: Regina Nemni
The husband and wife bicker and argue while pretending to do things together. They see a pretty woman at a restaurant, and the man is intrigued. For most of the scene, Regina Nemni who plays the wife, is either topless or wearing a transparent top, and the husband barely even notices.

Regina Nemni in Eros

Scene 2: Luisa Ranieri
The husband is drawn to the pretty woman he saw at the restaurant, and visits her residence. She invites him in, but warns him of impending chaos. What follows is a scene quite unlike I've ever seen in an Antonioni film - the man was half paralysed and unable to even speak properly when he made this film, but the scene 'talks' and walks the walk alright!  Beautiful Luisa Ranieri is everything a man could wish for in this sensual scene.

Luisa Ranieri in Eros

Scene 3: Luisa Ranieri and Regina Nemni
The husband leaves for Paris while the wife continues her vacation. It appears they are still in love. And we have the free-spirited Linda enjoying herself at the beach. This is one of the most beautiful and tastefully made nude scenes I've seen, and the reason why it had adorned my masthead so far. Luisa Ranieri in particular reminds me of some late renaissance work - full of grace and sensuality. For those wondering how she is now, she is still as beautiful and sexy as she was in this film, albeit a bit more clothed.

Luisa Ranieri and Regina Nemni in Eros


Saturday, 19 March 2011

A Tribute to Paz Vega

A bit later than planned, but here it is - a little tribute of sorts to the lovely Paz Vega from the films featured here so far. This is my second tribute to the Andalusian goddess, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it all the same. The soundtrack is from my favourite Flamenco album featuring a virtuoso by Johannes Linstead - I hope you guys enjoy this tribute as much as the music.

Download Tribute Video


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Celeste Cid in "Eva y Lola" [2010 Argentina]

Celeste Cid in Eva y Lola

Sabrina Farji's drama, "Eva y Lola" [Eng. Title: Eva and Lola] is about two young women, friends, who suddenly find themselves bound by a common past, after Lola's father is placed in custody following a failed suicide attempt. She is informed that, like Eva, she too was born in a detention camp during the dictatorship, and that the 'father' who brought her up, was actually one of the staff involved in torturing and abusing inmates there. Lola refuses to accept and lives in denial, but Eva helps her come to terms with her stolen past and start afresh.

The film is well made with good cinematography and a catchy soundtrack. There just brief nudity in a scene when Eva makes love to her boyfriend. Eva is played by chiquita guapa Celeste Cid, a TV actress who is only just 'opening up' in cinema. I've also appended an earlier non-nude but sexy scene of Eva showing off to her future boyfriend on the street. For some reason I was having trouble decoding the sound from the DVD, it is only of average quality.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Assumpta Serna & Eva Cobo in "Matador" [1986 Spain]

By 1986, when he made "Matador", Pedro Almodovar may have gone mainstream, but he still retained his twisted sense of humour and total irreverence for audience reactions that made his films so much fun to watch. It's from "Todo Sobre mi Madre" onwards that we see a different and more sombre Almodovar, even if the films he made from then on are just as accomplished, but in a different way.

"Matador" is a twisted film in many ways. None of the characters have traits that can be considered likeable, and yet you are coaxed into accepting their flaws. You forgive their follies, whether it is the retired matador who gets his kicks by watching someone getting killed - he even asks his girlfriend to wear pale make up and play dead while making love, or a lawyer who's got into the habit of killing her lover at the time of orgasm. Or the mother of a rape victim who's more concerned about her daughter missing her audition rather than reporting to the police. It is all out of synch with reality and totally absurd, but enthralling nevertheless.

It's a shame the Scandinavian DVD from which these compilations were made was about the best quality ever released. I hope it gets digitally remastered and released again for the next generation of film lovers.

Compilation 1: Assumpta Serna
Among the most respected professionals in the Spanish film industry, Assumpta plays Maria, a lawyer defending a self-confessed serial killer, despite being one herself. In the first part of the scene, she's with a lover she'd just picked up, but the second half is the more interesting when she finally gets to make love to her idol - the Matador - one can see Ms. Serna is going with the flow and thoroughly enjoying the moment as her co-star serenades her nipples with his tongue. And it is great to see a gay director appreciating feminine sensuality..!

Assumpta Serba in Matador

Compilation 2: Eva Cobo
Eva Cobo was barely 19 when she did this film. She plays the girlfriend who's madly in love with the Matador - even forgiving his psychopathic nature. In the first part of the compilation she's being spied on by her neighbour (played by a young Antonio Banderas), who later attempts to rape her in an alley way. Later she's with the Matador who asks her to play dead while he makes love to her.

Eva Cobo in Matador


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ingrid Thulin in "Viskningar och Rop" [1972 Sweden]

Ingmar Bergman's visually stunning but disturbing 1972 drama "Viskningar och Rop" [Eng. Title: Cries and Whispers] won an Oscar for cinematography, but should have bagged a few more, direction included, for this is one of Bergman's finest ever films.

Agnes is terminally ill, and her younger sisters Karin and Maria have arrived to be by her side. As her pain and illness advances, so does simmering hatred and jealousy among the younger siblings resurface, until it boils over upon Agnes' death, but this very outburst also leads to some degree of reconciliation between the two, even if their inherent nature prevents the complete healing. Among these ladies in the mansion is also the maid Anna, who offers her unconditional affection to the dying Agnes. We get to know each of the characters through the course of the film, but some events are purposefully left shrouded in mystery. What we see however, is a family in turmoil, and despite themselves, unable to communicate and reach out to one another. What's mildly amusing is, for a man so gifted in his observation and interpretation of human behaviour, Bergman in an interview (among the DVD extras), candidly admits to his own failings as father and lover - suggesting no amount of wisdom will protect people from their own shortcomings.

Bergman gives us a masterclass in technical and poetic filmmaking through his draftsman-like precision. I particularly liked the way he neatly separated his characters' 'whispers', by fading in and out from a blank red screen. The music, the art direction, the cinematography, and the exemplary performances by all combine to make this film a haunting and vivid experience. Highly Recommended Viewing.

In the only nude scene in the film, the unapproachable and self-hating Karin asks Anna to help her change, after which she takes the extraordinary measure of mutilating herself, so that her husband would not dare touch her - and she looks at the aghast husband triumphantly even through pain. Karin is played by Ingrid Thulin.

Ingrid Thulin in Viskningar och Rop


Monday, 14 March 2011

Maria Grazia Cucinotta in "L'imbroglio nel Lenzuolo" [2010 Italy]

Veteran Mexican-born actor/director Alfonso Arau made his first Italian feature, "L'imbroglio nel Lenzuolo" [Eng. Title: The Trick in the Sheet], thanks pretty much to the vision of its producer and protagonist, bellezza Siciliana Maria Grazia Cucinotta. In a manner, this very well made film is Sig.ra Cucinotta's own little ode to cinema.

It is turn-of-twentieth-century Sicily, and motion pictures have just arrived. Young Federico isn't too interested in pursuing Medicine, and is entranced by this new medium that's enthralling everyone. This is despite his mother's objection - she knows about cinema too, after all she plays the piano during the screenings. He finally nets a producer who's willing to fund him provided there's naked women in his film. He chooses to make one based on the biblical story of Susanna, but couldn't quite decide on the star, until one day when he notices Marianna, a washerwoman and local witch taking a dip by the marshes. After watching her daily routine, he lay in wait and films her without her knowledge, adds the remaining bits and also releases the film. Apart from it becoming a huge success, the film wrecks Marianna's reputation, she's now considered 'easy', and once also gets molested by a frenzied mob in town. The rest of this charming film is of Marianna winning back her honour by showing the village folk that Susanna is nothing but a 'trick in the sheet' (sheet meaning the screen).

There is brief but tantalising nudity of Maria Grazia Cucinotta who plays Marianna in the film, and if you're watchful, you might just about catch a glimpse of a frontal view in the extended version, but this post itself is just an excuse for me to write something about this beautiful film. It is out on DVD (from which this compilation was also cut), and definitely Recommended Viewing.

Maria Grazia Cucinotta in L'imbroglio nel Lenzuolo


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Marina Gatell in "Little Ashes" BR720 [2008 UK, Spain]

Paul Morrison's 2008 biographical drama of three of the most famous artists of early 20th century Spain "Little Ashes" - Luis Buñuel (film maker), Salvador Dali (painter), and Federico García Lorca (poet/playright) follows their close friendship from university years, particularly that of Dali and Lorca. It was a revelation to learn that they apparently loved each other, and it was Dali who was dilly-dallying between his feelings for Lorca, and his ambition to succeed in mainstream society. Set amidst the backdrop of rising fascism in Europe and later the Civil War in Spain, it offers a glimpse into their relationship and respective fortunes.

The film itself is average, but it does get a bit tedious half way through. I don't know who the intended audience was, because some of the facts and facets appear to have been 'sanitised' for some reason.

The purpose of this post however, is for sexy Marina Gatell, who plays the journalist Magdalena - a close friend, fan, and confidante of Lorca. Lorca and Dali are in the middle of an intimate conversation when Magdalena knocks on the door - she's drunk, and wants Lorca to satisfy her there and then. She doesn't notice Dali crouching in the corner of the room at first, but when she does, she gets the hint, but continues to pursue Lorca. There is an awesome rear view of Gatell in this scene which certainly caught my attention, one which I'm sure may interest others too. I've also appended some other assorted nudity in the film - the last part of the clip is taken from one of Buñuel and Dali's early collaborative films.

The scenes were cut from Blu-ray, so you guys can zoom in to have a closer look, if you really need to..! ;)

Marina Gatell in Little Ashes


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Paz Vega & others in Julio Medem's "Lucía y el Sexo" BR720 [2001 Spain]

I could safely guess that among all of Julio Medem's classics, his 2001 drama, "Lucía y el Sexo" [Eng. Title: Sex and Lucia] is probably the most seen by a non Spanish audience. While some may have been drawn to its liberal sex scenes, many, at least from my neck of the woods, would relate the film to Spain's stereotypical image of sun, sand and sea. Sr. Medem however, had gone the extra mile in ensuring these images are not merely used as props but essential elements to tell his poetic story, rich in symbolism.

Even though this isn't my favourite Medem, it is nevertheless beautiful (and somehow I feel, very feminine) cinema. You have the symbolic mother, the lover, and the whore, intertwined, each playing an important part in connecting the story. And then you have 'the island', in itself is a metaphor, where everything starts and ends (and starts again). This film can be nothing but art, because every time I see it, it is like looking through a kaleidoscope - there's something new to discover, whether intended by the director or not. For this reason, the film occupies prime space in my library, within easy reach - so that it could be seen again, and again. If you haven't seen this film before, it is about time you did. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing.

Here's the gist: Lorenzo, a writer, meets Elena at an island and they have sex - by the sea at night - it also happens to be his birthday. He never hoped to see her again, but fate had other ideas - he had after all just planted the seed for the rest of the story to unfold. He meets Lucía, a woman working in a restaurant opposite - she had already fallen in love with him and his work, and he loves her in return. Life now seems so tranquil that he now has nothing much to write about. But thanks to his friend, he learns he now has a daughter (through Elena), and attempts to bond with her secretly. Her frisky child-minder Belén enters his life, and events take a turn for the worse from then onwards, until the main characters converge on 'the island'.

The scenes below have been re-cut from Blu-ray, specifically for my blog.

Paz Vega: Compilation 1
For many, the film will be remembered for the lovely Paz Vega. She plays Lucía, the girl madly in love with Lorenzo.

Paz Vega in Lucía y el Sexo

Scene guide:
Lucía discloses her love to Lorenzo, and they return to his flat drunk, Lucía explores his house the following morning and they have sex for the first time. Contains some explicit sex scenes which was body-doubled by porn actress Diana Suárez.

Najwa Nimri:
The beautiful Najwa Nimri steals our heart as Elena - a character who's probably the kindest woman in the planet. The first part of the scene is of her with Lorenzo, followed by her discovery that she's pregnant, at which point she breaks up with her partner, through his secretary over the phone. The first scene is probably one of the most romantic underwater love scenes ever filmed. The second half has no nudity, but sexy nevertheless. The compilation as a whole showcases Julio Medem's artistry.

Najwa Nimri in Lucía y el Sexo

Paz Vega: Compilation 2
Some more scenes of the lovely Paz Vega playing Lucía. The scenes are more or less continuos - depicting Lorenzo and Lucía's developing relationship. The first half is very 'visual' that require little description. The second half of the compilation (unfortunately forgot to include caps for these in the graphic) is of Lucía visiting the island on her own after she presumes Lorenzo is dead after an accident. She stay's at Elena's place, where she's introduced to Carlos (Antonio had taken on another identity), also a tenant there. Elena tells Lucía that Carlos and she have a purely sexual relationship, and the fact that he had the biggest penis she's ever seen, which was enough to make Lucía curious about Carlos. It includes some nude scenes by the beach, and Lucía receiving a sensual mud massage from Carlos. She however stops him from going all the way.

Paz Vega in Lucía y el Sexo

Elena Anaya, Diana Suárez, and Paz Vega:
This compilation is made of several scenes involving Paz Vega (Lucía), a young Elena Anaya (Belén), and Diana Suárez (Belén's mum):

Elena Anaya and others in Lucía y el Sexo

Scene guide:
  1. When Belén tells Lorenzo that her mother's a retired pornstar, living with her hunky former colleague, Lorenzo is intrigued and asked if she too fancied her mother's boyfriend. Reluctant at first, she admits to flirting with him, and relates an incident one night, when she was masturbating in the nude to one of her mum's porno movies. She hears Antonio (mum's boyfriend) enter the room. The remainder of this scene is of Lorenzo building up that fantasy for his own writing material - his novel was gradually becoming autobiographical.
  2. Lucía who habitually reads what Lorenzo had written, is shocked and tries to comfort him in bed.
  3. Belén invites Lorenzo over to the child's house - she's baby sitting that night, and Lorenzo accepts. They are interrupted when the door opens, and tragedy unfolds (not shown here).
  4. Another fictional scene where the disturbed Lorenzo builds layers upon the relationship between Belén, her mother, and her mother's lover. He is now ridden with guilt and self-hatred after the tragic event.
  5. Elena calls her former chlld-minder Belén, and invites her to the island where she lives, while Belén's mum sunbathes in the nude and takes a shower by the balcony in broad view.
  6. Lorenzo pens a terrible end for his mother-daughter characters (Belén and her mum).


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Charlotte Gainsbourg in "Antichrist" BR1080 [2009 Denmark, Germany, France]

I'd cut these clips nearly a year ago but had been hesitant about posting it, for a number of reasons. It is one of the most depressing films I've seen in a while, and I really hated the idea of having to watch it again while taking screen caps. It is also a controversial film that depicts scenes of sexual violence and mutilation, in addition to explicit sex. Besides, it is a film that is hard to recommend to anyone, unless they're completely open-minded.

I ultimately realised I'm being unfair to Lars von Trier's honest attempt to explore extreme grief due to familial loss, and the accruing mental illness due to perceived guilt, and after a lot of deliberation, decided to make this post.

His 2009 film, "Antichrist" has had wildly mixed reviews, and caused a sensation when von Trier was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes that year. Even in IMDB, reviewers were trying hard to read too much into the film. Yes there is symbolism, but as far as I can see, it is a simple story dealing with trauma, and how it puts even committed relationships to the test. But the film itself is beautifully done, with some exquisite cinematography and challenging interpretation by the main characters - the husband and wife, played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg respectively.

Most of these scenes may be found elsewhere, but these are cut from Blu-ray, and possibly among the better quality versions floating around. But use your own judgement before downloading these as they can be hard to watch, high quality notwithstanding.

Scene 1:
There is only brief nudity in this scene but it is beautifully made, even if it is a sad one. Contains explicit imagery.

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist

Compilation 2:
The remaining scenes of Charlotte Gainsbourg from the film. The explicit scenes however uses body-doubles, both for Ms. Gainsbourg and Mr Dafoe. But I've left the scenes largely uncut - so download at your own discretion. To put your mind at ease, no clitoris was injured during the making of this film!

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist


Martina García in "Rabia" [2009 Mexico, Colombia, Spain]

Sebastián Cordero's 2009 film, "Rabia" [Eng. Title: Rage] is an unusual and original melodramatic thriller. At times it's slow moving even by my own standards, but it is pretty well made, considering most of the film happens inside a mansion. I hate giving away the plot of thrillers, so I'll just give a brief outline of what the film's about.

José and Rosa are lovers, both immigrants, working in Spain doing the kind of work usually set aside for immigrants - he's a construction worker, and she's a live-in domestic servant for an elderly couple. When José gets fired for getting into an altercation with his boss' friend, an argument with his boss ensues, and José accidentally kills the bugger. Wanted for murder, he hides in the mansion where Rosa works, unbeknown to her or anyone else. His logic - he doesn't want the Police to pester Rosa, and the less she knows of his whereabouts, the safer for her. During this time Rosa also discovers that she's pregnant. Rosa is played by the very cute Martina García - keep an eye as there's more to come from this beautiful Mexicana in this blog.

In the only nude scene in the film, Rosa is worried she may have lost her baby, after noticing some bleeding while taking a shower. It's only a brief scene but someone's got to record it, right..? :)


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Alba Rohrwacher in "Cosa Voglio di Più" [2010 Italy]

Director Silvio Soldini has just made a fan out of me, and his film "Cosa Voglio di Più" [Eng. Title: What More do I Want] has definitely made me eat my words about contemporary Italian cinema being rudderless. This is probably the best film I've seen this year, and would be surprised if it doesn't pick up any awards along the way.

Anna, an accountant, is living with Alessio, who runs a department store. He loves her deeply, and wants to take their relationship to the next level, i.e., wants to have a child of their own. Anna first sees Domenico, a married man with children, at an office party - he works for the catering firm used for the party. When he casually invites her for a cup of coffee one day, Anna agrees, allowing herself some indulgence after a good day at work. Despite knowledge of their circumstances, they embark on an affair, and find themselves unable to control the course of events.

True, several films had been made with this theme, but what sets this apart is the very realistic manner in which it builds their relationship. The screenplay and direction is the result of acute observation of human behaviour. The director develops the characters gradually, sometimes using seemingly irrelevant details, until we get to know them quite intimately, and the infrequent silent scenes are used for the protagonists to portray the complexity of their predicament as they embark on this dangerous journey. The film firmly establishes that these are normal people who have to deal with normal day-to-day problems, and who are not in a position to 'afford' their indulgence. Whether we agree with their choice of action or not, it is depicted objectively and in a non-judgemental way. And the strong technical and creative team that Mr. Soldini had at his disposal, notably editing and set design, certainly helped in producing this flawless little gem. It is for these reasons that I think this is an important film.

The unassumingly sexy Alba Rohrwacher plays Anna quite brilliantly in the film, as does the well respected actor who plays Domenico, Pierfrancesco Favino. The passionate sex scenes in the film are plainly essential to advance the story, and it is great to see that there is genuine chemistry between the actors playing the lovers. I originally saw a screener version of this film, and promptly had to order a DVD (from which these scenes were cut). Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Compilation 1:
Made of two scenes. First is when Anna and Alessio have their inaugural shower together in their new cubicle. The second is when Anna and Domenico finally manage to make time and book a tacky Motel for their first sexual encounter.

Alba Rohrwacher in Cosa Voglio di Più

Compilation 2:
Made from four different scenes of Anna and Domenico together. There is always an air of tension in these scenes, beautifully portrayed by Alba Rohrwacher.

Alba Rohrwacher in Cosa Voglio di Più


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Amaia Salamanca in "Fuga de Cerebros" [2009 Spain]

Fernando Gonzalez Molina's 2009 film, "Fuga de Cerebros" [Eng. Title: Brain Drain] is possibly the worst Spanish film I've seen in a long time.

It seems to have drawn inspiration from films like American Pie and Revenge of the Nerds, but at least those were funny. This one desperately tries to be provocative but ends up looking in poor taste. I think this film is aimed at teenagers who usually sit in the back row of a classroom. Whatever the case, do yourself a favour by avoiding this - you'll save yourself some unnecessary anguish of having wasted two hours of your life.

A geeky bloke is madly in love with his childhood friend Natalie, only she doesn't notice it. He and his weird group of friends follow her all the way to Oxford where she's studying Medicine, by faking their grades and papers. During their stay, Natalie catches him in a compromising situation with a corpse from the morgue - she even asks her psychologist dad to help cure his necrophilia! And after all this, she ends up accepting the guy's love during the film's last minutes.

The only scene worth watching is here below - I'm merely saving you guys the effort of having to fast forward to this bit. The guy fantasises how he would get back in Natalie's good books after being caught on top of a dead body. Natalie is played by Amaia Salamanca. I've also added at the end a few seconds of the guy's friend posing with a dead woman in the morgue. By the way, the scene was cut from a DVD, so at least the quality is good.

Amaia Salamanca in Fuga de Cerebros


Monday, 7 March 2011

Renata Dancewicz in "Diabelska Edukacja" [1995 Poland, Germany]

Renata Dancewicz in Diabelska Edukacja

My first Polish film in the blog, even if I had already introduced a Polish born director earlier, the incomparable Walerian Borowczyk.

Agreed, this isn't actually mainstream, but it is a pretty well made segment from a DVD of erotic tales produced in Germany in 1995, Janusz Majewski's "Diabelska Edukacja" [Eng. Title: Devilish Education].

The film is set sometime in the 19th century. Gosia, a beautiful and innocent farm girl catches the eye of the Devil while bathing in the lake. He takes the form of a gentleman artist and befriends her by showing drawings he had made of her while she bathed. He proceeds to awaken her sexuality, and initiates her into all the essentials for becoming a distinguished lady.

The film is exquisitely erotic, thanks to some very good direction, editing and art direction. I almost wished it were a feature length film on its own, even though it works well as it is. The DVD I purchased had hard-coded English subtitles on it, but despite that it doesn't affect the overall experience too much, since the dialogue is minimal. Goisa is played by Renata Dancewicz, a decent enough actress, but whose physical beauty could easily drive men crazy - she's ravishingly beautiful, and definitely worth judging for yourself.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Catherine Leprince & co in "Vive les Femmes!" [1984 France]

Here's a very French sex comedy, and how aptly titled for this blog too..!

Claude Confortès's aptly titled 1984 comedy, "Vive les Femmes!" [Eng. Title: Long Live Women!] is an adaptation from a Jean-Marc Reiser comic strip, about the sexual shenanigans of a couple of flatmates, Bob and Mammouth, in the beaches of southern France.

The film stars a constellation of beauties from the eighties, including the gorgeous Pauline Lafont and pretty little minx Catherine Leprince (of-Bilitis-fame). I had posted this film a while ago elsewhere, but perhaps this blog will give the film a bit more exposure. Besides, these scenes were cut from a remastered DVD, and the quality needless to say, is pretty good.

It is a silly comedy, but in a charming way, and the sights and sounds of the beaches makes you wish it were summer now. And the bevy of some of the prettiest French actresses from the 80's is a treat in itself.

Compilation 1:
Catherine Leprince plays sexy school teacher Viviane, and this compilation is made of five different scenes, each a treat to watch:
  1. Another day dawns, and Viviane couldn't wait to take on the world.
  2. No nudity but a delightful scene in the class where the eager kids are given one heck of a upskirt show by teacher Viviane.
  3. Bob shamelessly propositions every girl in the beach - Viviane isn't interested in him even if she's desperate herself. She then tries his method on an unsuspecting tourist!
  4. Ginette, her friend gets hooked up with Bob, so Viviane drives back to Paris alone, but has a miserable time in the rain with a flat tyre, and no one's willing to stop by to help. No nudity but intermittent nipple-slips in wet summer clothes.
  5. Viviane has a row with her lover, the married Patrick.
Catherine Leprince in Vive les Femmes

Compilation 2:
The compilation is made of four scenes and include nudity by Cerise (Brigitte), comediane Michèle Bernier (Mimi, Patrick's wife), Michèle Brousse (Viviane's friend Ginette), Catherine Leprince (Viviane), and Pauline Lafont who plays the cafe girl Pauline.
  1. Funny scene - Bob brings home his date Brigitte. He also considers himself a bit of a stud, and Brigitte plays along.
  2. At the beach, Patrick is gazing at a sunbather while his wife Mimi is lying topless nearby. and gets jealous when she catches the attention of Mammouth.
  3. Viviane and Ginette go nude sunbathing in a secluded part of the beach, but are interrupted by Bob and Mammouth.
  4. They all get together for a party back in Paris, and Viviane gives one awesome well-lit striptease on top of the table, and prompts the others to follow suit. Pauline flings her panties in the dark which land on the street, where a blind man, played by the director himself, picks it up and joins their party.
Catherine Leprince and others in Vive les Femmes


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Scenes from Paul Verhoeven's "Spetters" [1980 Netherlands]

Paul Verhoeven (of Basic Instinct and Robocop fame) made this early Dutch classic, "Spetters" exploring youth culture in smalltown Holland during the late 70's. The story follows the lives of three youths - Rein, Eef and Hans - friends and dirt-bike racing enthusiasts from in a working class neighbourhood and want to succeed in life in one way or another. Fientje, a determined young woman, runs a mobile chip shop with her brother, but is desperate to get out of the business, and settle down with someone who can give her the lifestyle she desires.

Rein is set on winning the championship, and when he manages to rope in some sponsors, Fientje gets drawn to him. But her hopes are dashed when Rein has an unfortunate accident that renders him paralysed waist-down. But life must move on. She joins with Eef who wants to emigrate to Canada. Eef had been accumulating money by mugging gay men, but after he discovers that he himself is gay, Fientje has to look for someone else. She considers Hans, who's been only modestly successful so far, but loves her more than the others ever did.

This film was my introduction into Dutch cinema, and is also one of the more memorable and compelling I've seen. For many reasons - it is witty, and at the same time touches on subjects that matter to all of us. The screenplay is excellent with well developed characters, and the imagery is in a style unlike any I'd seen before. This was also the first time I encountered explicit sex scenes in a mainstream film shown in a blasé manner. You also have scenes in the film depicting gay oral sex, and they're all shown passingly as part of the narrative. The film however still remains my favourite Verhoeven. Recommended Viewing..!

The compilation below was put together directly from my DVD in the following order:
  1. No nudity but funny as flat chested Margot Keune tries to impress the lads with some tennis balls - it doesn't work!
  2. Big-bosomed Saskia Ten Batenburg is the object of interest for everyone in the cramped car.
  3. Rein having fun with his girlfriend Maya in his parent's bedroom, Maya is played by Marianne Boyer.
  4. Funny scene again when Eef and Hans pick try to score with Saskia Ten Batenburg and Yvonne Valkenburg respectively, but things don't go according to plan as Eef just couldn't get it up, and Yvonne has her periods. So both the couples fake orgasm to show off their sexual prowess.
  5. Chip shop girl Fientje, played by Renée Soutendijk, plays with Rein's 'sausage' affectionately..!
  6. Hans is now Fientje's - Renée Soutendijk's latest lover - and he's always eager to please.
Renee Soutendijkand others in Spetters


Friday, 4 March 2011

Adriana Ugarte in "Cabeza de Perro" HDTV [2006 Spain]

Santi Amodeo's beautiful 2006 drama "Cabeza de Perro" [Eng. Title: Doghead] follows the fortunes of Samuel, a young lad with an unfortunate brain disorder where he would momentarily blank out and loose control over what he's doing.

After a party, Samuel falls asleep in the back of a van and ends up in Madrid - a city he's never been. He decides to stay put, and promptly finds himself a job, but finds the going tough when he loses it after one of his blank spells. He shares a flat initially with perky little pizza restaurant worker Consuelo, played by the muy linda Adriana Ugarte - she's just so adorable in this film. But he incurs her wrath after one of his blank-out spells in her room while she's asleep. He seeks her out and makes friends with her again.

The cinematography is excellent, the direction and screenplay combine to narrate a charming story, and the editing and special effects are spot on without any overcooking. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Scene descriptions from the compilation:
- Samuel's misadventure with a Consuelo while she sleeps topless in white panties
- a brief nipple-slip of Consuelo
- a friendlier Consuelo in the car with Samuel (no nudity but nice)
- Bonus scene: Ana Wagener, the MILF from the garage invites an innocent and homeless Samuel to crash at her home when he first arrives in Madrid.

Adriana Ugarte in Cabeza de Perro


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Tilda Swinton in "Io Sono l'Amore" BR720 [2009 Italy]

Luca Guadagnino's BAFTA-nominated film, "Io Sono l'Amore" [Eng. Title: I am Love] is about a rich Milanese industrial family falling apart as winds of change sweep through their hitherto stable if stagnant empire. There's a seed of a storyline for en epic, but alas it doesn't get anywhere. Sometimes it makes me wonder whether Italian cinema is going through a crisis at the moment. A crisis of identity, and direction. Perhaps they're wary of treading on the footsteps of a Visconti or Antonioni. Perhaps too much attention is given to making things look shiny, without bothering to add substance, or perhaps they're simply running out of ideas! Finding Italian films with heart is akin to digging deep into the earth for gems these days.

The film is beautiful to look at alright, and the impressive-as-ever Tilda Swinton gives her all as the central character, the next-in-line matriarch around whom the story unfolds, but the director and screenwriter have left her too much to do, with very little support from the script. The music direction also leaves much to be desired as the score often ascends to a ridiculous crescendo even when the scene doesn't necessarily build up towards any defining moment. Despite Ms. Swinton's impeccable performance, I just couldn't care less for her character, nor the others.

Emma, the wife of a wealthy Industrial magnate isn't exactly unhappy, but the film automatically assumes that the audience are convinced of her need for an affair with her son's best friend. No justification is given for her motives, nor for her daughter's decision to leave her husband to live with a woman. And are we supposed to cry for Emma if she gets kicked out for disclosing her affair, to her hubby's face, and of all occasions, immediately after their son's funeral..? WTF..?

Any way, the compilation below features a couple of scenes of Emma with her lover boy, a chef and close friend of her son. While the first half is ok, the second half looks a bit silly, with intercut shots of 'birds and bees' as they roll in the meadow - as if we don't get the picture. The scenes were cut from Blu-ray.

Tilda Swinton in Io Sono l'Amore


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Scenes from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Satansbraten" [1976 West Germany]

I've just started getting acquainted with the works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, one of the more important directors who shaped and nurtured what is called the "Neuer Deutscher Film" aka New German Cinema. He also scripted, edited and acted in films, occasionally also wearing additional caps as cameraman and composer. The man knows a bit about film all right, even though his background is from theatre. He was apparently also a hell-raiser, and courted controversy throughout his career and personal life. Since I don't know much of his filmography, I'll start with the first film I managed to add to my DVD library, the 1976 black comedy "Satansbraten" [Eng. Title: Satan's Brew].

Walter is a writer going through a mental block, and desperately needs cash to get by with his ailing wife Luise and mentally challenged brother Ernst (he's obsessed with dead flies and wants to find a way to fuck them - you get the idea!). Walter's publisher has refused further payments until he's seen the first few lines from his proposed work. The film is mostly about Walter going to extraordinary lengths to find money, by any means possible. The film is shot at a frenetic pace like a slapstick comedy, but most of it isn't funny at all, but biting satire. There are traces of Godard and Fellini in the way the characters have been drawn. It is actually a very interesting film, but I hope to discover more of Fassbinder over the coming months.

Compilation 1:
Made of three crazy scenes. First is of Walter asking his friend he could have sex with his wife Lisa, played by Fassbinder's former real-life wife Ingrid Caven. In the middle scenes, Walter comes up with an idea to interview prostitutes and write a book about them, and calls in Lana, a part-time high class prostitute for a session. He gets turned on when she says she's normally a very shy person, and decides to have sex with her while his wife and brother are still around. "It's all the name of research" is his explanation to an exasperated wife. His brother Ernst had to be restrained by others when he tries to hump Lana from behind when she goes (naked, as they do) to the bathroom to wash. Lana is played by Y Sa Lo. In the final bizarre scene, an agency woman wants to test Walter to see if he is gay by taking her top off. The woman is played by Christiane Maybach.

Ingrid Caven, Y Sa Lo and Christiane Maybach in Satansbraten

Compilation 2:
This is another crazy scene where Walter drags his aristocratic mistress Irmgart von Witzleben into her apartment, asks her to give a blowjob to a pistol, forces her to write him a fat cheque, and then shoots her before he leaves - Irmgart is played by the saucy Katherina Buchhammer. This happens at the beginning of the film. The second half is equally crazy where 'good things' suddenly happen to Walter for all wickedness. Imgart isn't dead after all - the pistol only had blanks, and it was all a game to inspire Walter to start writing again. Just as they celebrate, his friend's wife Lisa, a woman Walter has coveted for long, arrives with her belongings, to replace his wife who'd just died.

]Katherina Buchhammer in Satansbraten


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Mónica del Carmen in "Año Bisiesto" [2010 Mexico]

Australian-born Michael Rowe made his directorial debut in this 2010 Mexican drama "Año Bisiesto" [Eng. Title: Leap Year]. I so wanted to see this during one of its screenings in the UK, but work kept me away, so had to wait for the DVD to be released to watch it.

It's a sad but beautiful film dealing with several complex issues such as loneliness, particularly urban solitude, marginalisation within 'mainstream society' due to gender or ethnicity, and also a plea for love. And what better setting than the biggest urban zone of all, with its deep set divisions within - Mexico city. The director had lived in Mexico for several years and has used his intimate knowledge of the city and its culture to tell us the story of Laura, a Mexican native American.

A migrant from the provinces, Laura makes a living as a freelance journalist in Mexico city. She lives alone, on the verge of depression, and in her desperate search for intimacy and companionship, has meaningless sexual encounters with various men. Her loneliness is exemplified through the vicarious pleasure she takes in watching a young couple living opposite displaying affection for one another. She craves for a similar affection, never having experienced it before. Every time her mum or friends call, she lies to them about herself, trying to portray herself as living a far more interesting life than she thinks she is.

Laura had now reached the point where she wants to end it all, and set herself the end of the month to accomplish her task, February the 29th - the same day her father died four years earlier. It's not coincidental that the date of this post would have been February the 29th too, had this been a leap year.

We get to the next phase of the film, when Laura meets Arturo. During their first night, they somehow 'connect', and they meet again. While Arturo thinks he'd found someone on whom he can act out his sexual fetishes, Laura endures them willingly due the deep state of intimacy these intense sex sessions bring. The long post-coital scenes on the couch are just as important as the sex, as this is when they get to know each other intimately. The sex sessions however intensify by the day, until the 29th of February arrives, the day she had set for her death, and Arturo is to help her end her existence...

Apart from two scenes in a supermarket, the entire film is shot from inside a small flat. Laura's. The air of claustrophobia is adequately illustrated using simple but effective directorial and cinematographic techniques. The acting from both the lead characters is excellent, especially Laura, played by Mónica del Carmen, and the storytelling is simply captivating. This film was made on a shoestring budget, but put together beautifully with care and devotion, a feat greatly appreciated at Cannes last year when it deservedly won the Camera d'Or.

Now that the DVD is out - there's no reason not to buy it, not only for the fine film but also the interesting points Director Rowe raises in his interview. Please treat these scenes below as a sampler - if you like them, buy the film. Highly Recommend Viewing..!

Scene 1:
Laura brings along a guy after an evening out. No sooner does he catch his breath after sex, the guy's asking for his pants...

Mónica del Carmen in Año Bisiesto

Scene 2:
When Laura brings home Arturo for the first time, a bond develops without them realising - it's as if he knew what she wanted, which he was only too happy to give. The sex scenes here however are not erotic - there is palpable sadness displayed in laura's emotions. But Arturo cares about Laura, and she knows that too.

Mónica del Carmen in Año Bisiesto

Scene 3:
The infliction of pain during sex appears to have a cathartic effect on Laura, and the sado-masochistic element of their sex sessions intensify. The post-coital scene is however moving, when Arturo asks Laura to tell something she had never told anyone before.

Mónica del Carmen in Año Bisiesto

Scene 4:
Laura welcomes him in the nude as usual, but Arturo asks her to clear the room, slaps and 'forces' her to masturbate as he urinated all over her. When he asks her later how it felt to be pissed on, she smiles and says, "it felt warm" - the warm feeling in sharing an unmentionable secret with Arturo, something very personal that they could tell no one, that intimacy is what she had craved all along. She also discloses in their sofa-chat that she lost her virginity when she was twelve. In their next session, Arturo burns her with a cigarette, and she puts up with the pain - she is ready to accept whatever is coming to her whenever the doorbell rings. In the last part of this compilation, she turns down work opportunity from a publisher, lying to him that she's emigrating to Switzerland to work at the embassy there.

Mónica del Carmen in Año Bisiesto

Scene 5:
This is a disturbing scene. Laura welcomes Arturo this time holding a kitchen knife - she wants him to cut her. He hesitates. During their customary chat, she masturbates him while describing how it would feel to actually mutilate her while making love. She suggests he could if he wants even cut her throat, and come inside her dead body. The scene is explicit, but it is not the least designed to titillate, unless you are one of those who need help. I have also appended an unrelated shower scene towards the end.

Mónica del Carmen in Año Bisiesto