Immoral Women DVD
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Directed by Walerian Borowczyk
Produced in 1979
Main Language - French with English subtitles
Marina Pierro, Pascale Christophe
Who's the best director that won't be appearing in Sight and Sound's Ten Best Films poll this September? The man who made Emannuelle V? The man who appalled arthouse audiences by showing a young lady in various states of undress being chased around an 18th century garden by a guy in a gorilla suit? The very same.
Walerian Borowczyk started out as a respected animator, before moving successfully into live-action features that – arguably – degenerated into soft porn. But throughout, his films retained a fascinating and utterly unique directing style, that flattened out both the spatial and psychological dimensions till his work appeared not so much modern as archaic, more like a medieval tapestry or hieratic art. Fiercely sensual, focused as they are on the tactility of objects and, um, beautiful women, his films also display a predilection for absurd humour, much of it at the expense of the church, which he attacks with the same gleefulness as Bunuel, and preening macho men, who fall victim to the schemes of their more intelligent muses.
Immoral Women is one of Borowczyk's lesser-known films, but it still displays all the best elements of his approach. It's made up of three stories. The first, Margherita, investigates the sex lives of the Renaissance painters in a way that would make Vasari faint. It also introduces a rather twisted 'hall of mirrors' sequence that recalls Borowczyk's most brilliant and disturbing animation, Les Jeux des Anges. This sense of the macabre is even more keenly felt in the second story, Marceline, which features a girl being pleasured by her pet rabbit, a rape in a sheep pen, a suicide, and a whole new way to serve up lamb for dinner. Finally, Marie is a patently ludicrous kidnap story with sight gags out of Laurel and Hardy and a bit of bestiality thrown in for good measure.
No, it won't take its place beside Citizen Kane and Vertigo, but it's another earthy, comic masterpiece from this poet of the erotic.
Michael Bartlett on 15th May 2012
Author of 26 reviews
Revisiting the area of perversity, wit, eroticism and fascination with objects that characterised his Immoral Tales, Walerian Borowczyk's Immoral Women features three tales of sex, deception and female revenge through the ages.
The first film, Margherita, is set in Renaissance Rome where a poor baker's daughter, Margherita (Marina Pierro), uses her beauty to bed and kill the rich and powerful men who lust after her. In the second, Marceline, a young frizzy-haired girl develops an erotic obsession with her beloved rabbit in 1700s France; when her parents have the rabbit killed and cooked for dinner, she exacts a terrible revenge. In the third film, Marie, a young woman (Pascale Christophe) who is held for ransom and ravished by her captor is saved by her pet dog.
Length: 115 mins
Cat No: DAVID1751
Format: DVD Colour