Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Antigoni Amanitou & co in "Bordello" [1985, Greece]

Intrigued by the earlier film of Nikos Koundouros, I decided to check out one of his later films, and as expected, it sure was different..!

His 1985 drama, "Bordello" [aka "Bordelo"] is set during the last days of Ottoman Crete when the island was occupied and controlled by Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and France, ostensibly to monitor a peace treaty but with their own hidden agenda. The film starts with a group of women - "The Ladies from Marseille", landing in the port town of Chania - enterprising prostitutes hoping to take advantage of the new demand caused by the influx of the various armies. Led by Rosa Bonaparte, they settle in a mansion to start business. The film follows the politics played out at the bordello by the customers' vested interests, not least the Cretan revolutionaries who want independence from Ottoman Turkey. The women also get reluctantly sucked into the politics of a foreign land, one they wish they hadn't come to.

The film is exquisitely made, even if it doesn't reach the poetic heights of Mikres Aphrodites. The set design, lighting and shot selection is outlandish and evocative of Fellini's "Satyricon". The acting performances range from the eccentric to the utterly ridiculous, but it all somehow works in this bizarre film. The cinematography and editing is quite good, and the film held my attention throughout even if I hadn't a clue what's going on in the scenes where they speak either Greek or Russian (sadly my DVD came only with Greek subtitles). There are some silly directorial mistakes, but nothing major. The costumes and make-up is very well done, but I especially loved the fabulous eye-liners of these ladies - charming, sexy, and so Greek. Add to this the extraordinary nude scenes - women filmed from unusual angles, but artistic nevertheless. The film is a visual feast, and for that reason, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

DVD Order Link

Compilation: Eleonora Stathopoulos, Agapi Manoura, Antigone Anamitou, Monika Impels, Elena Mirtsofska, Alexandra Pavlidis, Marina Vlady, Eugenia Olympiou, and various unknowns
This is a large compilation even by usual standards, but definitely worth checking out before you decide to buy the film. I've used the names as displayed in the film credits, some of which are spelt differently in IMDB.

Eleonora Stathopoulos, Agapi Manoura, Antigone Amanitou, Monika Impels, Elena Mirtsofska, Alexandra Pavlidis, Marina Vlady and Eugenia Olympiou from Bordello

Scene Guide:
  • Sarah doesn't like the local Cretan woman in the house, and asks her naked friend to convey how she feels - the dialogues here are in English so you should be able to follow. Sarah is played by Eleonora Stathopoulos. Unfortunately I couldn't identify her rather interesting naked friend - if someone knows, please let us know through the comments.
  • A British officer takes a shine to compatriot Emma Harvey. Emma is played by Agapi Manoura. There's another lady spreading her legs in the bed next to them, whose name I couldn't figure out either.
  • Antigone is one of many crazy woman at the bordello - but she's also Greek, and could converse with the locals in their language. Sexy Antigone is played by Antigoni Amanitou (credited as Antigone Anamitou). She bites a client's finger when he rejects her proposition.
  • Awesome scene as the drunk Russian captain doffs glasses of vodka while carrying cute and naked Monica on his back. The captain tries to chat up the Polish lady Irena, but she rebuffs his overtures. Monica slips through when he puts her down to talk to a Cretan revolutionary called Vasilis, and is later found fooling around with Antigone and a sailor boy. Monica is played by Monica Innbells (credited as Monika Impels), and the Polish Irena is played by Elena Mirchovska (credited as Elena Mirtsofska).
  • Antigone and Anita topless in a crowded room as grand lady Rosa Bonaparte picks up a punter, played by veteran actress Marina Vlady - she had aged magnificently since I last saw her in a Marco Ferreri film, "L'Ape Regina". Buxom Anita is played by Alexandra Pavlidou (credited as Alexandra Pavlidis).
  • Sarah approaches the sweaty and topless Antigone and couldn't contain herself.
  • Sarah apparently is still a virgin - one can see why from their bizarre conversation in the bath. Irena has some tales to tell too as she's scrubbed by young Tania, played by Tania Tripi..!
  • Sarah fancies Vasilis, but he's not interested - and so she blames the 'witch' - the Cretan woman, played by Evgenia Olybiou (credited as Eugenia Olympiou).
  • Bizarre scene - and how Cretan..! The British officer challenges any woman to make love to the 'monster' Minotaur for One Hundred Pounds, and Sarah chooses that moment to not only make some money, but also to loose her virginity. There's a non-nude scene (actually, a murder) in between which I left in - I think it was made rather well.
  • The ladies find themselves back on the street, in pouring rain - Antigone has had enough and wants the others to follow her out of the island.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cécile Cassel & co in "Ex" [2009, Italy]

Many thanks for all your messages guys and its great to be back, rested and refreshed.

Fausto Brizzi is fast gaining a reputation in the romantic comedy genre. His themes may be pretty much mainstream stuff, and even if he's telling a story told several times, it is amazing how he manages to keep it fresh, original, and very witty too. Granted there are also some mushy 'Hollywood moments' towards the end of his films, but he's a work in progress and should get over it as he ventures into more challenging themes.

His 2009 film, "Ex" [more aptly titled in English: Many Kisses Later] takes a wry look at fading romance, and what it takes for couples to keep it aflame. We follow several couples going through their upheavals, and they also seem to be loosely connected, perhaps unnecessarily. However, it is a delightful film to watch, some of the scenes are positively funny, outrageous even, but some scenes are also quite moving. The film has a top-draw cast and crew, and no expense seems to have been spared. The film was also nominated for several David's the following year. Needless to say, Recommended Viewing.

Amazon DVD Link.

Compilation: Cécile Cassel, Martina Pinto, Valentina Valsania, Anna Fusco, Fulvia Lorenzetti, Claudia Gerini, Cristiana Capotondi, and others
There's brief nudity only in some of these scenes, but all are sexy and funny moments,  enjoyable to watch nevertheless.

Cécile Cassel, Martina Pinto, Valentina Valsania, Anna Fusco, Fulvia Lorenzetti, Claudia Gerini, Cristiana Capotondi, and others

Scene Guide:
  • Monique and policeman-boyfriend Davide role-play detective and moll in this funny scene. Monique is played by sexy little French number Cécile Cassel - sister of the more famous Vincent, and sister-in-law of Monica Bellucci.
  • No nudity but another sexy and funny sketch of Monique with her current boyfriend Paolo. Paolo, afraid of her jealous ex-boyfriend Davide, decides to meet her away from his own house lest he be seen, and cajoles Monique into playing a streetwalker to make things 'more interesting'. When he's late, she's approached by a punter to which she gives him her price - € 700 - the annoyed man leaves after asking if she'd also expect him to pay the VAT. She asks Paolo to hurry or she'll drop her prices. Later in the car Paolo's relieved it's the Carabinieri rather than the police (Davide) who'd busted them.
  • Valentina, now living with dad after the mum dies, is making out with her boyfriend when the dad enters the room casually, "privacy please..!". The shocked dad beats a retreat. It gets more outrageous when she comes down asking her gob-smacked dad for a condom, forcing him to hand her his 'delay' condoms after threatening to do it without any. Valentina is played by Martina Pinto.
  • Monique is fed up with Paolo's no-show and leaves.
  • Priest Lorenzo follows Corrado's stag night to see if he's being unfaithful - Lorenzo was also his fiancée Elisa's boyfriend before he became a priest. Assorted T&A's appear until Corrado's friends gift him the pole dancer, played by Valentina Valsania. After learning how much his friends paid, Corrado decides 'not to waste' the money. The sexy bartender is played by Anna Fusco, and the S&M mistress by Fulvia Lorenzetti.
  • Elisa's hen night's in full flow, and she brandishes her lingerie chosen for the nuptials - followed by women's talk about her lovers. their ratings etc. Claudia Gerini who plays Elisa doesn't get nude in ths film, but some others do.
  • There's only brief nudity by the lovely Cristiana Capotondi in this film - I'll later post another film of hers that does better justice. Here, she plays Giulia - the segment with her and the boyfriend is also the funniest of the lot.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Scenes from "Henri 4" BR720 [2010, France, Germany, Czech, Spain]

Jo Baier's action-packed historical epic, "Henri 4" [Eng. Title: Henry of Navarre] is the story of Henri IV - one of the most beloved kings of France.

The film is nearly two and a half hours long, but not for a moment does it get tedious - as absorbing as a Paul Verhoeven classic from a different era, "Flesh+Blood" (I have the DVD which I'll review later). But "Henri 4" is not just entertainment, it is also ambitious in its scope - the film manages to cover all the momentous events during the period without too much fudging. The interpretation may be a bit subjective, but despite that I'd rate it slightly higher than an earlier French film covering the same history, "La Reigne Margot". Very well directed and executed, "Henri 4" is a high-vale production, with stunning cinematography, art direction, set design, sound engineering, costumes and makeup. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film and the quality in the blu-ray version (from which this compilation was made) brings forth all the crews efforts. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Amazon Blu-ray Link

I will keep it brief as there's tonnes of material out there concerning Henri IV. The film follows his rise from a young Protestant prince of impoverished Navarre (as Henri III), to the Catholic King of all of France (as Henri IV). It covers his upbringing, training, philandering, his loves, the numerous political assassinations and coronations, wars, his conversion to catholicism, the bloody St.Bartholomew's Day massacre, and also his death. I've inserted some wiki-links for those interested in further reading on Henri IV.


Compilation: Eliška-Bejrová, Armelle Deutsch, Chloé Stefani, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, and Aida Folch

Armelle Deutsch Chloe Stefani Gabriela Maria Schmeide and Aida Folch from Henry 4

Scene Guide:
  • We are introduced to the grown-up Henri having fun with one of his peasant friends when his doting mum enters the tent and complains about 'a fishy odour' - she asks him to come and see the admiral. I'm fairly certain the actress playing the friend is Eliška Bejrová.
  • The audience are introduced to princess Margot getting punished by her brother King Charles IX and mother Catherina de Medicis - for sleeping with their rival Henri de Guise. The kinky scene gives us a picture of the royal family's dysfunctional nature (to say they least - Margot's other brother had gone further). The mother tells Margot that she is to marry Henri of Navarre. Margot is played by Armelle Deutsch.
  • Awesome scene - Henri discovers that Margot is one feisty woman who requires a forceful man to handle her. The wild sex scene that ensues is hot as hell and their competitive nature is established. And those dark hardened nipples of Armelle Deutsch is a sight to behold..! ;)
  • The night after their wedding, Margot welcomes Henri with a convenient gown - wedding guests party below while the newly weds have their own party. Some uncredited T&A's also appear in the scene.
  • Barely six days after the wedding - a horrific incident takes place when the Catholic queen's men slaughter Protestant Huguenots in Paris, most of them wedding guests. An angry (Protestant) Henri vents his anger by having rough sex with Margot. She later informs him that he wouldn't be able to leave Louvre - that was the condition with which he was left unharmed.
  • After escaping from Paris, Henri meets Gabrielle, and instantly falls in love. During one of his campaigns, Gabrielle enters his tent to cheer him up before battle. In return for her favours, she asks that her family receive Henri's patronage when he becomes king. Gabrielle is played by the lovely Chloé Stefani. Henri rejoins the Catholic fold at the end of this scene.
  • Gabrielle persuades Henri into making her father a artillery colonel.
  • A pregnant Gabrielle with Henri.
  • After Gabrielle and her unborn child die, Henri gets married in absentia to Marie de Medici upon the Pope's wishes. When he meets her for the first time, he forego's formalities and any sense of occasion, and gets straight to the business of making an heir. A bewildered Marie obeys. Marie is played by Gabriela Maria Schmeide.
  • It's celebration time when the first child is born, an appreciative Henri and a disconcerted Marie watch dancer Henriette perform a dance of the veils with nothing but transparent clothing. Henriette is played by Aida Folch.
  • More see-through nudity when Marie barges into Henriette's apartment to check if husband Henri "the horny old goat" is there. Marie forces Henriette to disclose why she came here. She confesses it was Henri's ex-wife Margot who sent her. But did Marie find what she came looking for..!


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Giselle Calderón & Martina Klein in "Águila Roja, la Película" [2011, Spain]

José Ramón Ayerra is essentially a TV film director, and "Águila Roja, la Película" [Eng. Title: Red Eagle, the Movie] is obviously a film adaptation of his earlier TV series.

I wonder why he even bothered - there may be a story to tell but the film making is straight out of eighties in terms of style and content. The script and screenplay is not suitable for film, daytime TV perhaps. I hate to be too critical of directors making their film debut, but it has to be said that he was possibly aiming for the lowest denominator to appeal to the widest audience possible. This is not the Spanish cinema I know and love. The only positive about the film is the costumes, but the production design could have been better, as could the performances.

It's a drama built around 17th century politics when Spain presided over possibly the largest empire of the time, with a troublesome neighbour in Portugal, and upstarts England and France vying for position. We have a swashbuckling masked hero thrown in the midst of a conspiracy when Charles V and Louis XIV (allegedly) try to assassinate Spain's Philip IV. The hero saves the day for Spain along with some help from peasants armed with little more than pitchforks.

Compilation: Giselle Calderón and Martina Klein
There's also some brief nudity in the film - the only reason for this post.

Giselle Calderon and Martina Klein nude in "Aguila Roja, la Pelicula"

Scene Guide:
  • Charles V visits the king of Spain bearing a gift - a slave girl from Bengal, who appears to be wearing nothing but a few ornaments. The Spanish monarch remarks that she's probably not yet a catholic. The dialogue was obviously written to make the audience laugh, but I doubt if it worked. The woman is played by Giselle Calderón.
  • Beatriz had sought the help of our masked hero (Red Eagle) to rescue her imprisoned father, but he changes his mind after his son is blinded in an incident. She nevertheless makes her displeasure felt. Beatriz is played by Martina Klein.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Silke & Emma Suárez in Julio Medem's "Tierra" [1996 Spain]

After a thrilling "La Ardilla Roja", Julio Medem made this surreal classic, "Tierra" [Eng. Title: Earth], retaining most of his brilliant main cast. Typically for a Medem film, hitherto missed nuances keep surfacing every time you see it, and by pure coincidence I ended up watching it twice in succession recently - need I say more. Right from the story, to the screenplay, and the characterisation, Medem had woven a stunning multi-layered tapestry using different motifs and themes. The direction is delightfully playful, and the manner in which both the outward story and 'Medem-vision' play independently is simply astonishing. The superb cinematography makes you want to be there and get to know these characters. I feel a bit silly stating the obvious - this is a superior classic from maestro Medem, and therefore Highly Recommended Viewing..!

It's going to be tough, but I'll give it a try - Our hero, the endearing Ángel is a pest controller - an exterminating angel of sorts commissioned to end a woodworm epidemic in a wine-growing area. Even though he's aware the woodworm adds a unique 'earthy' texture to the wine that is appealing, he nevertheless has to get rid of it. Add to this, we also have wild boars ravaging the crops.

Ángel also wants to exterminate his own split personality, having spent time in a mental institution - for apparently having a rather vivid imagination - "half man, half angel", according to his own words. This is beautifully illustrated through two women he encounters during his assignment - the married and angelic Ángela, and the free-spirited biker-chick Mari - one part of him loves Ángela while the other wants to rid himself of his split 'twin' - and become independent, much like Mari. Which one will 'he' choose - and the answer couldn't have been more poetically established as in one of the final scenes, when the uncle tells a hospitalised Ángel that there's a pretty woman waiting to see him. He asks his uncle, "which one, the red-haired or the blonde?", to which the uncle replies, "which one would she rather be?"

Amazon DVD Link

Compilation: Silke and Emma Suárez

Silke and Emma Suarez in the Julio Medem classic, Tierra

Scene Guide:
  • No nudity but sexy - as Mari teases Ángel with her sinuous curves at her brother's bar - is he imagining her, or is it for real - we learn through the conversation that he was in a mental patient for a while. Mari is played by sexy minx Silke - full name, Silke Hornillos Klein.
  • Ángel follows Mari one night and watches her in the act with the already married Patricio, who treats her as his possession and sees Ángel as a rival. They're disturbed when a wild boar triggers a trap in the backyard. Mari notices Ángel spying and asks him (the wild boar) to come and 'eat her heart'.
  • No nudity - when Patricio dies in a freak accident, Mari bids farewell to Ángel as she fears she'll get all romantic over him - some bizarre face-lickin from Silke in this scene.
  • Long scene - Mari tells Ángel at the bar that she'll be waiting for him at her house with the door ajar. A serious sex session follows when he gets there.
  • Ángel watches Mari head towards the bathroom and decides to join her, but lo and behold, it is Ángela, the widow of Patricio who'd spent the night in the same house with Mari's brother Alberto. When Alberto comes looking for her, she asks him to wait outside, but he had already seen Ángel's trousers by the bath - there's nothing more to hide now in this kinky scene. Ángela is of course played by the delectable Emma Suárez.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Sascha Zacharias & co in "Tatanka" [2011 Italy]

Promising director Giuseppe Gagliardi's latest crime drama "Tatanka" [Eng. Title: Raging Tatanka] is about a boxer growing up in a tough Neapolitan neighbourhood, under the constant shadow of the Gomorra. The film casts Clemente Russo in the titular role - a real-life professional boxer who was given the sobriquet "Tatanka" meaning bison, and who also grew up under similar circumstances.

While several films - some even legendary, have been made about boxers fighting their way to glory, "Tatanka" is different in many ways. It is not as much about he seeking glory, fame or recognition, but something more personal - his fight to live with dignity and honour. The film is very well scripted and the screenplay/direction is surprisingly well done, even if it has a documentary feel to it. The cinematography and editing is excellent, especially during the first fifteen minutes of the film as the kids are chased by police through the narrow lanes of Naples. The soundtrack is also imaginative, and I think overall this is an above-par piece of entertainment, and therefore Recommended Viewing..!

Michele and Rosario are close friends but with different attitudes to life. While Rosario is impetuous and often lands himself into trouble, Michele is more level-headed, but even he wouldn't hesitate to come to Rosario's rescue when needed (which is very often). It's during one of his favours that he gets done for a murder committed by Rosario, and spends eight years in prison while Rosario lives free. Fatefully, Michele was to attend an important meeting to seek sponsorship for his boxing training - to get qualified for the Olympics when Rosario calls on him asking to help him seek revenge on another guy. Upon release, Michele finds Rosario doing pretty well - he had joined hands with the Gomorra (Neapolitan equivalent of the Mafia) and started making big bucks. Rosario refurbishes Michele's locked-up gym and organises pre-fixed fights to raise Michelle's ranking.

But sooner or later it was bound to happen - Michele is asked to throw away a particular fight. But he just couldn't go through with it, he k.o's his opponent instead. Knowing his life is now in danger, Michele accompanies Petra, a woman who had watched his fights and who now wants him to help run her posh restaurants back in Germany. But it doesn't work out as their outlook on life are worlds apart. Michele participates in seedy underground boxing contests, until he gets spotted by a former Olympic coach, who trains him for the highly regarded Stammring tournament. But when he had to return to Naples for his grandfather's funeral, Rosario comes looking for Michele...

Compilation: Claudia Ruffo, Susanne Wolff, and Sascha Zacharias
Since there's only brief nudity in the film, I'd decided to include a couple of more interesting scenes from it.

Claudia Ruffo, Susanne Wolff, & Sascha Zacharias in Tatanka

Scene Guide:
  • Young Michele with girlfriend Luisella - unfortunately the film hasn't included the entire cast in its credits - only the major ones, and am hence unable to ascertain the name of the actress playing young Luisella. There's however only a brief nipple-slip from her in this short scene.
  • No nudity - Michele meets Luisella after eight years. We realise she had moved on during his time in prison, and pleads him to stop looking for her. The older Luisella is played by Claudia Ruffo.
  • No nudity - some dancing girls entertain Michele and Rosario.
  • No nudity - Michele in bed with Petra, played by German actress Susanne Wolff.
  • The German Olympian coach asks Michele to train with Caroline, who later gives him an eyeful at the showers. Caroline is played by cute and sexy Sascha Zacharias.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Angélica Chain & Ana Martín in "Cadena Perpetua" [1978, Mexico]

Let me start Arturo Ripstein's filmography here with one of his more remarkable films, "Cadena Perpetua" [Eng. title: Life Sentence], considered a landmark in Mexican cinema by the manner in which it lays bare the country's internal state of affairs - something that's common knowledge but rarely discussed in cinema until then.

Arturo Ripstein, in brief:
He is widely regarded as one of the finest directors to emerge from Mexico. His foray into direction began as an assistant to none other than the great Luis Buñuel in the classic, "Le Ángel Exterminador" (The Exterminating Angel). But Ripstein's films nevertheless have a stamp of their own - his trademark is depicting characters who are consciously flawed but unable to change their destiny or redeem themselves, either due to circumstances or society. The mood in his films, needless to say are often downbeat. I must however admit that at the time of posting, I've seen only seven of his forty-odd feature films, so my knowledge of Ripstein is still in its infancy. There are a few films however that I know about and dearly like to see, but are either unavailable or hard-to-find.

The crime drama "Cadena Perpetua" falls under the hard-to-find category, as the only one I could get hold of is the NTSC Region-1 DVD, which is letterboxed and not particularly a great transfer - the DVD itself is poorly stamped. I've decided against enhancing the scenes for this compilation as I fear it would be a pointless exercise, and left them instead in the best resolution close to the DVD.

Lira aka 'Tarzan' wants to turn a new leaf. As 'Tarzan', he had been a common crook picking pockets and pimping women, and often got into trouble with police comandante Prieto, who'll let him off only after taking a cut. But after one crime too many, Lira finds himself serving time in prison, and his unpleasant experience there plays a part in him wanting to mend his ways. Upon release, fortune favours Lira with a job, of all places at a bank - as a debt collector. He gets married and is now also father to a child. But his tranquil world is turned upside down when comandante Prieto decides to return from retirement, only to torment Lira after learning of his whereabouts. Lira is left in a predicament - to resist Prieto and put his family in danger, or return to his criminal ways in order to meet Pietro's demands.

The film is gritty without going overboard - it poses questions on ethics, duty and morality, and portrays how inept state mechanisms, rather than checking corruption, are a problem in itself. It is a very well made film with good screenplay and direction, and an awesome soundtrack (but poorly mastered on DVD). The film also won the Golden Ariel the following year for best feature. Recommended Viewing.

Compilation: Angelica Chain, Ana Martín, and Ana Ofelia Murguía

Angelica Chain, Ana Martín, and Ana Ofelia Murguía in Cadena Perpetua

Scene Guide:
  • Brief nudity - Lira had taken his girlfriend Rosa to a motel after some partying. When Lira tries to have a second helping, Rosa refuses, telling him she's exhausted. Lira prepares to leave - when Rosa asks him why he wouldn't sleep with her for the night, he tells her the night is still too early. Rosa is played by a young Angélica Chain, in one of her more respectable films.
  • Lira rendezvous with a maid at her lady's house, and decides to help himself to whatever he could lay hands on, after getting the maid drunk. The maid is played by cute and young Ana Martín - another veteran Mexican actress.
  • No nudity, but kinky scene. Lira's prison warden Sr. Romero invites him to his quarters for a drink - he had decided to befriend Lira. But Romero is also an alcoholic - not only does he hate his job, he can't stand the fact that his wife is a slut willing to spread her legs to anyone, worst of all his close friends..! As soon as Romero starts snoring, the wife makes her advances on Lira - when he tells her how sinful they both have become, she asks him to shut up, and instead "darle, darle..!" Sra Romero is played by Ana Ofelia Murguía.


Saturday, 10 September 2011

Margherita Buy in "Lo Spazio Bianco" [2009 Italy]

"Lo Spazio Bianco" [Eng. title: The White Space] is a typical woman's film by Francesca Comencini - with the topic of premature birth as its theme, but focusing on the middle aged mother and her existential crisis as she struggles to cope with the uncertainty concerning the baby, her job, and love life. Yes - it is one of those post-feminist films using voiceless men merely as passers by - they just come and go with nothing much to contribute apart from helping women conceive - in other words - this is mensploitation..! Even if the film has good technical merits, I don't think this is Ms. Comencini's best effort. In fact my reason for watching this was her brilliant earlier film, "A Casa Nostra". The screenplay for this is nowhere near that standard.

Divorced forty year old Neapolitan Maria teaches literacy to adults. She tries to change her monotonous lifestyle by watch matinees before starting work, and in the process meets Pietro - a single father of a six month old infant. Maria falls in love with him and soon becomes pregnant, which doesn't please Pietro as he already has a young child - they split up when Maria decides to keep her baby. But the baby is born several months premature, and had to be kept in an incubator for fifty days before the doctors could ascertain whether the child will survive, grow up to be a normal person, or have some lasting defects. The bulk of this slow-paced film is of Maria trying to cope with this uncertainty. The title 'White Space' refers to leaving some blank space when stuck while answering an exam question, so that you can revisit after completing the others.

Brief nude scene: Margherita Buy
The only reason I even bothered to make a compilation of these brief scenes is because as far as I know, this is perhaps the only instance of nudity from the veteran actress who plays Maria, Margherita Buy - you may correct me if I'm wrong. What's more - she even presents herself in frontal view in albeit a backlit scene. She wanders around the house and stops to watch Pietro's baby. There are a couple of brief views of her breast during the love scenes shown through flashback. Towards the end we have a scene of Maria massaged by the doctor who works at the hospital where her baby is incubating.

Margherita Buy in Lo Spazio Bianco


Friday, 9 September 2011

Theresa Russell in "Hotel Paradise" [1996 UK, Germany]

British director-cinematographer Nicolas Roeg had also worked in several US productions, but I'll be focusing on his predominantly UK and European filmography for this blog.

Nicolas Roeg, in brief:
His was one of the most magnificent careers in British cinema, starting as an apprentice and working his way upwards to become a cutting-edge film-maker. By the time he got to direct his first film, he already had over twenty years of industry experience. He never did film school, but is a great master of cinema, exquisitely mixing his narrative to give the audience information only when he feels they're ready for it, expecting them to put the pieces back together on their own - he's one man who can force you to sit through his films. His classics such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don't Look Now, and Bad Timing, to randomly pick a few, speak volumes of his artistry and understanding of the medium. He remains one of my favourite British directors, even as I prefer his ground-breaking and innovative earlier work. For those wanting to know about Mr. Roeg through proper film historians, here's the link.

I'll ease Roeg into the blog with his 1996 short and sexy film, "Hotel Paradise" - conveniently hidden in my DVD "Erotic Tales volume 3" (from which "Diabelska Edukacja" was also compiled). Roeg cast his then wife, American actress Theresa Russell as the bride opposite a young Vincent D'Onofrio.

The bride wakes up naked from drunken stupor to find herself in a hotel room, handcuffed to the bedpost, and a stranger sleeping beside her. It is her wedding day, the only thing she remembers from last night was trying on her bridal dress and having some champagne. She manages to locate the key to free herself, and promptly handcuffs the naked stranger in her bed, lest he wakes up. She spends a good part of the film trying to locate her clothing - her only intention is to get dressed and leave the room. She is not interested in knowing what happened the night before, and ignores whatever the stranger has to say after waking up. But the stranger is already in love even though he doesn't know her name yet, and now has his task cut-out to convince her to also love him before she leaves the room. He keeps talking - handcuffed and naked - he has no other means to change her mind. Most of what he says is rubbish, but it is sincere and endearing, and we end up liking the b*stard. But will the bride who's about to get married also feel the same..?

This is a surprisingly beautiful and sexy number as I wasn't expecting much from Roeg while he was making some rather mediocre stuff at the time. The cinematography and lighting is superb and the direction spotless, even if the dialogues sound at times like a BBC radio book-reading. What's also amazing is, it is erotic despite there being no depiction of actual lovemaking. The early scenes of the voluptuous Theresa Russell are among the sexiest I've seen in a while, reminding me of Marina Pierro from Walerian Borowczyk's "Les Héroïnes du Mal". This is a true 'nude scene classic' worth every penny, even more so when you've an amazing deal going on at the time of this post. Forget about the description which is from a different volume - as long as you have volume 3, you're alright. DVD link

Compilation: Theresa Russell
Made from some of the juiciest bits from the film. A scene guide is not necessary as the dialogues are in English.

Theresa Russell from Nicolas Roeg's Hotel Paradise


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Eva Santolaria in "Susanna" [1996 Spain]

Spanish director Antonio Chavarrías' 1996 film, "Susanna" is a passionate crime drama, made in Latin American style for the most part, with an ending however very European.

Àlex, a salesperson for a wine merchant gets to meet Susanna, the 'niece' of one of his customers who runs a café during one of his routine visits. The customer is unable to pay for new stock because she hasn't settled an outstanding bill. To persuade him to give her more grace time, she offers him Susanna for sex, which Àlex accepts. He'll learn later that she's no 'niece', but a delinquent asked to stay there as part of her rehab. But Susanna had already fallen in love with him at first sight, even after knowing he's about to get married. She quits her job at the café the same day and invites Àlex for more sex at her room. But Àlex soon looses contact with Susanna when he's put behind bars for embezzlement. Upon release, he gets married and takes up a job as waiter at one of his former customers' restaurant when he meets Susanna again, who'd come with her Arab boyfriend (Said) who loves her and wants to marry her. Àlex manages to catch her alone and forces her to continue the affair, even though he doesn't have any plans to leave his wife who's now expecting a baby. Susanna isn't happy with the torrid affair and tries to end it, but Said, her fiancé discovers them together, which triggers a disastrous chain of events.

While the story sounds interesting, the film is let down by the screenplay which has several loose ends that ends up making the film less believable. There is an attempt at studying cultural differences across ethnicities, but it isn't explored to the extent a British or French film would, due to which the whole effort ends up looking like a side-act. The characterisation of Munsta, Àlex's wife is woefully inadequate, which further questions the film's seriousness. The one thing really going for it though is the impressive depiction of sex scenes between Àlex and Susanna - this is about how far one could go without making them explicit. A young (but ridiculously skinny) Eva Santolaria gives it her all playing the titular role of Susanna - she's got one of those cute anime character-like faces that's endearing. We also see genuine chemistry between Àlex and Susanna during all their encounters. The film, if anything, will probably be remembered for the way the sex scenes were made - also the same reason that I'd recommend the film. This is however a rare film - the DVD from which this compilation is made was bought nearly two years ago, and not sure if they're readily available these days.

Compilation: Eva Santolaria, Rosa Gàmiz, and Alícia Paz

Eva Santolaria and others in Susanna

Scene Guide:
  • Àlex is propositioned by his customer who lets him have a piece of her 'niece' Susanna. The enamoured Susanna also gives him a second helping. Susanna is played by the cute and sexy Eva Santolaria.
  • When he leaves, Susanna follows Àlex and invites him for more sex in her hotel room - this time, on the house.
  • Brief view of Susanna waking up from a nightmare (or vision).
  • This is a kinky scene - Susanna is with her boyfriend Said and his friends at the restaurant where Àlex works - he hasn't seen her for several months. Àlex catches her when she's coming out of the ladies room and forces her into the wine cellar, where they end up having passionate sex, while the Said wonders where she's gone. By the time he comes looking, Àlex and Susanna have already finished and she's powdering herself in the ladies room, left to be admired by Said.
  • No nudity - Àlex's wife Muntsa is pregnant - she's also left neglected and frustrated. Munsta is played by Rosa Gàmiz.
  • Susanna welcomes Àlex in the buff during their next rendezvous, and what ensues is one hot sex scene.
  • Sexy scene where Susanna invites Àlex to touch her while washing herself.
  • Àlex is working for a dodgy restaurant owner who's nasty nephew he also needs to accompany. When the person who owes money couldn't pay up on time, the nephew decides to take his wife - this is an attempted rape scene, and not very pleasant. The woman is played by Alícia Paz.
  • Susanna places an ultimatum on Àlex - either leave his wife, or stop the affair. She doesn't want to cheat on Said any more.
  • Àlex obviously wants the wife and mistress too. Susanna tries to talk him into leaving her alone, but during her 'struggle', they're caught by Said and his friends.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Alessandra Muccioli in "Ce n'è per Tutti" [2009 Italy]

Luciano Melchionna had chosen an unusual subject for his comedy, "Ce n'è per Tutti" [Eng. Title: We All Get Our Share]. Unusual because it is essentially about a young man who finds life pointless and decides to die. Despite its macabre subject, it is actually a hilarious comedy with excellent characterisation, well written and executed.

One night Gianluca scales the walls of the Colosseum unnoticed - by daybreak he's perched at the top looking down on passers by with calm indifference. He had decided to jump off the landmark in broad view. Indeed he gets the whole nation's attention as a TV show telecasts this live - they also track down his family and try to get an interview and appeal. The reasons for Gianluca's regrettable choice is not presented formally - it is left for us viewers to deduce from snippets of his life through flashbacks from various friends and acquaintances as they head toward the Colosseum to try and dissuade him. His grandmother (played by Stefania Sandrelli) gets there first, managing to slip through the security cordon to sit next to him. She's also the one Gianluca feels closest to among all the family. They have a picnic there and talk about the past - and a clear picture of his parents and childhood emerges. While outwardly there's nothing unusual about his circumstances - his upbringing, friends or environment, we begin to pick little clues for his decision as the film progresses.

This is an intelligent film dealing with life and society in general, and presented with a refined sense of humour. The film is very well directed, the cinematography and editing is top notch, and I also loved the eclectic soundtrack. All main actors give a decent enough performance and there's really nothing negative I could say about this film. The disappointing IMDB ratings bely its quality and it deserves a far better reputation. The DVD extras come with an engaging 'Making of' (they can sometimes be boring but I'd recommend everyone to watch this one). Needless to say, Recommended Viewing..!

Amazon DVD Link

Nude Scene: Alessandra Muccioli
There's only one instance of nudity in the film - a post-coital scene between 'cougar' Claudia, a has-been b-grade actress who still dreams of being 'discovered', and her one-night conquest. She's woken up by her friend Daniele to be told Gianluca is about to jump off the Colosseum - he's a friend of both and occasional lover of Claudia. She listens in disbelief and goes back to her toy for the night. Towards the end we see Claudia asking her pushy "neanderthal" friend to go and make the coffee by himself. Claudia is played by Alessandra Muccioli.

Alessandra Muccioli in "Ce n'è per Tutti"


Monday, 5 September 2011

Exclusive Interview with Marina Anna Eich

Excerpts from my interview with Marina Anna Eich, the star of "24/7, The Passion of Life", made exclusively for this blog.

Q. Some extensive research seem to have gone into exploring the world of BDSM. Are any in the production team active or former BDSM practitioners?
A. No, we had the same prejudice as many other people. But knowing we are entering a foreign world, and making a film with elements of it, we did some research for months before shooting the first scene. We talked to people who practice BDSM or swinging, we had a close look and observed.

Q. How challenging was it for you to perform in these sex scenes. And how much input was yours in the manner in which it was depicted. Looking back, do you still think they are essential to the narrative?
A. I think when making a film about double morals, hidden sexuality and society, it is necessary to also show some of the sexual situations. It would be prudish not to show what it is about. I made a lot of input to my role. Before each scene I made the proposal of what I wanted to do and show... That is the great thing about working with WTP, every actor can give their input and form her/his role the way she/he likes. It was challenging in a good way, as also for me (as Marina) it was a new area, and I immersed like Eva into the new world.

Q. Would you consider making such scenes in future?
A. Sure, why not? Sexuality and nudity is an essential element in life, so why not show its naturalness.

Q. Apart from being an integral part of the WTP production team, are you currently doing any other work, either as an actress or in some other profession?
A. In the last 3 years I have done one more feature film apart from WTP (Horror genre; Title: Break) which my cousin (Matthias Olof Eich) directed. I wanted to support him with his first feature film.
In 2009 and 2010, I was also the spokesperson (and did all the press work and public relations) for the upcoming "Five Lake Film Festival" which is held yearly in July/August in the south of Munich.

Q. What do you prefer to do in your spare time?
A. I am a passionate biker and ride about 25000 Km a year with my two bikes (cruising with my Street Bob-Harley Davidson and speeding with my Honda Hornet). Apart from that I like hiking, reading books, learning languages, relaxing and taking a sauna. In my spare time I look for calmness and peace because at work, there are always so many people surrounding you.


WTP Film News Extra

WTP International has almost completed shooting its latest film, "The Truth of Lie" due for release later this year. The film bears some similarities to "The Dark Side of our Inner Space".

A man (Christoph Baumann), 35, studies psychology and works additionally as motivational coach, but wants to do more. He decides to become an author. The subject which fascinates him is emotional borderline experience. He seeks volunteers willing to get into an extreme experiment for money for a period of 5 days, and hires an abandoned factory.
Two young women agree to volunteer. One (Marina Anna Eich) is a daredevil that likes adventures. She seeks excitement and thrill. The other one (Julia Jascke) is more circumspect and submissive. However, apart from the money, it is the possibility of self-awareness that is of more interest to her.
After arriving at the dungeon Christoph plays some psychological games with them which unfortunately doesn't reach true borderline. He takes notes and carries on his presentations, but is aware the five days will be over soon. He decides together with his publisher (Antje Nikola Mönning) to extend the five days without letting the volunteers know and tries to drive them to the extreme. What begins as a game soon turns serious, and the frontiers get blurred - one doesn’t know anymore who is victim and who is offender.
What is reality?

With such a storyline and cast, this sure promises to be another one of Roland Reber's envelope-pushing films one can't wait to see. And I've been reliably informed that there are some nude scenes in it as well, including Marina Anna Eich. I will keep you guys updated on further developments on this exciting project.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Marina Anna Eich & co in "24/7 The passion of Life" [2005, Germany]

Continuing Roland Reber's filmography, his 2005 drama "24/7 The Passion of Life" uses BDSM and swinging themes to propagate his theories on sexuality and meaning of life.

The film, if anything is educational. Unlike the clichéd view of what we see of BDSM in mainstream films, 24/7 delves into what actually the participants aim to achieve, which by the look of things is a lot more than the end orgasm. To say the film is not easy viewing is an understatement - it is not particularly pleasant to watch or hear what the film is trying to say. Some of the arguments made are provocative, incendiary even. But then again, at least readers of this blog know that films or any art needn't necessarily have to be pleasant. The best way to approach it is to see this as another interesting view-point, whether or not we agree with what Mr. Reber has to say.

As in many of his films, he uses a mouthpiece, here in the form of dominatrix Lady Maria to air his views, most of which are philosophical - strongly nihilistic, with echoes of not only Nietzche, but some pre-biblical ideas too. Having watched this very involving film only recently, I'm still not sure whether this should have been made as a feature film, or published as an academic work - there's simply too much in it. One has to set aside time, both to watch the film, and later to digest it. It is nevertheless a bold experiment, one that can only be made by self-financed film companies like WTP International. Thank 'God' for independent cinema - Amen..! ;-)

I will keep it to a minimum as it is not so relevant for this film. Reber uses two distinct characters to play out his theories - one is heiress to a luxury hotel Eva, and the other is Magdalena, a sociologist pursuing her doctorate by working as dominatrix Lady Maria. When Eva admits to being sexually unfulfilled, Magdalena encourages her to explore her sexuality first and find out what she really wants. She advises that if sexual fulfilment is her main problem, her starting point should not be S&M but a swingers club. Eva's journey of discovery takes her full-circle before Magdalena (as Lady Maria) espouses what she sees as the true meaning of existence and identity - that one must create oneself anew, by being the father and mother of their own self.

Technically, I think the film is well done, but I couldn't help feeling that it tends to occasionally over-emphasise the obvious (both in terms of screenplay and editing). However, what stands out is the performance of the actress playing Eva, Marina Anna Eich, with her 'Alice in Wonderland' like curiosity as she savours every sensation and situation she comes across enthusiastically. Ms. Eich also appears in some explicit sex scenes, and I can confirm that none of these use body-double (also read her exclusive interview). Wolfgang Edelmayer's sound track is appealing and greatly helps the film narrative. As with all of Reber's films, many in the cast double up as crew as well, with Mira Gittner as Director of Photography and Editor, and Marina Anna Eich and Patricia Koch as co-producers.

The DVD includes some great extras like the short film, "Dann nenn es halt Liebe", a TV feature, and audience interaction with Mr. Reber and Ms. Eich during its festival premiere. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, something challenging, 24/7 is definitely Recommended Viewing.

The film can be purchased from*.
Official site and Trailer
Amazon DVD Link
* A new DVD release of "24/7 The Passion of Life" will be published shortly that will also include English subtitles. I will update the Amazon link as soon as it is up for sale.


Compilation 1: Marina Anna Eich
These scenes are predominantly of Eva exploring her sexuality.

Marina Anna Eich in 24-7 The Passion of Life

Scene Guide:
  • A strip contest in the swingers club Eva starts frequenting. She joins in the fun too. Curious Eva is played by the beautiful, voluptuous and very feminine Marina Anna Eich. The contestant in white panties is Claire Plaut. All the swinging scenes were filmed in an actual swingers club, and it's owner also appears as an important character in the film, Mike who befriends Eva.
  • Mike suggests to Eva that one of the reasons for her not winning the contest might be her pubic hair, and offers to trim it - which leads into this graphic but stylised sex scene. I've edited some parts of it so that we could focus on the lovely Ms. Eich.
  • A nice scene of Eva and Mike frolicking in the woods.
  • When Eva tells Mike her sexual fantasy is to have sex with several partners simultaneously, free from the need to feel or be loved, he offers to be her sexual 'travel guide', and initiates her to swinging. But the moment he notices a third person touching her privates, he pushes the men away. When Eva asks him why he ended it so abruptly, he suggests one should be careful and gentle, to which Eva replies that she had been that all her life, and is now in need of excitement.
  • Mike arranges another swinging session, and one can clearly see that he had begun to fall in love with Eva. This scene is also inter-cut with happenings in dominatrix Lady Maria's den, where one of her guests is treating himself to a 'wine' enema (thankfully not explicit).
  • A disgusted Eva breaks up with Mike, and decides to seek excitement on her own - by working as a dancer at a strip-bar.
  • Strip dance no: 2 - Mike comes to see her perform. He couldn't bear to watch other men ogle at Eva, and leaves. There's another inter-cut with goings on in Lady Maria's, where a guest bears his 'cross' - to be later stripped and 'crucified' by Lady Maria.
  • Lady Maria had been instrumental in opening Eva to a new world. She visits the strip-bar and books Eva for a private dance, during which she asks Eva what she'd achieved so far. Eva tells her she doesn't know if there indeed is a goal, but that she's only sure she wouldn't want to go back to the 'gilded cage' she used to live in.
  • Interesting symbolism in the end scene of the film where Eva is 're-born'.

Compilation 2: Mira Gittner, Claire Plaut, Marina Anna Eich, Patricia Koch, and others

Scene Guide:
  • Magdalena, as Lady Maria the dominatrix soothing one of her guests after punishing him earlier. Lady Maria is played by Mira Gittner.
  • Eva's first trip to a swingers club - she and her male companion are shown the facilities. The guy who accompanied her is not interested and decides to chill in the pool, but once an interested lady joins him, he gives her the slip. The lady is played by Claire Plaut.
  • No nudity but funny scene - Eva introduces Magdalena (Lady Maria) to her father as a sociologist friend at a family dinner. The father, impressed by Magdalena's expansive knowledge, tells Eva, " can learn a lot from her". She smiles and replies, "That's what I do, Dad"!
  • Lady Maria uses Eva for one of her sessions with the guy who thinks he's Jesus, ridden with guilt - she taunts while 'forcing him' to partake in two sins.
  • Pole dance-strip by Stephanie, played by sexy thing Patricia Koch. I seldom enjoy watching strip/pole dances - they just don't do it for me - but even I was impressed. Ms. Koch is also a fine-art photographer, and one of the film's producers and long-standing members of the WTP team - she sure looks a pleasure to work with..!