Monthly Archives: October 2007

Viewing ‘wrong’ films for the right reasons

Muralla by Bofill

The image above is Xanadu in Calpe, Alicante (1969-1983), a surreal structure designed by Ricardo Bofill where the action of Jess Franco‘s 1980 Sade appropriation Eugenie, historia de una perversión is set. Robert Monell remarks that “this labyrinthine structure boggles the eye and teases our sense of perspective. This interior can be seen, shot from a radically different angle, in 1973’s The Perverse Countess.” Bofill’s design for the Catalan resort of Xanadu consists of a seven-story block with cubical living spaces arranged around a central utility core. Franco used this structure several times [1], [2].

Of all the “Euro trash” exploitation directors (I’m not counting Alain Robbe-Grillet, that’s artsploitation), Jess Franco had a knack for finding good interiors and exteriors. One of his films is set in Park Guell of Gaudi, but there are undoubtedly countless other examples to be found.

Of related interest is The Wrong House exhibition, on Hitchcock and architecture, currently showing in Antwerp.

Il Giornale Nuovo quits after five years

Luigi Serafini’s book Pulcinellopedia Piccola

From Luigi Serafini s book Pulcinellopedia Piccola

Il Giornale Nuovo (2002 – 2007) was a visual arts blog. Its author wrote in praise of miscellaneity:

“I WRITE in praise of miscellaneity, and in particular of assortment and variousness in books; of motley volumes; of mixed-up, impure works which nevertheless accord with the mess & disorder of nature, of life.”

From its first post, to its last, a very inspired work. It will be sorely missed.

I’m sure he will be back.

When the trailer is better than the film


The Night Porter (1974) – Liliana Cavani

The trailer features the bunker-cabaret scene with Greta Keller’s ‘Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte’ [Youtube] played in the background and Charlotte Rampling in a strange striptease. It’s the most memorable scene of the film. Greta Keller’s song is one of soothing melancholy.

Update: SensOtheque elaborates.

World cinema classics #22


Je t’aime… moi non plus (1976) – Serge Gainsbourg

I’m not sure Je t’aime… moi non plus would work if it was made today. I saw at the local art house cinema in my mid twenties. At the time I was as much in love with the yellow truck as with the decadence of the film, the performances of Jane Birkin, and Joe Dallesandro and the cameo by Gérard Depardieu. As a fan of Serge Gainsbourg, I’m glad to showcase it here today. The striptease scene at the beginning is very typical of this film. Towards the end of this Youtube clip, the footage is underlit.

Previous “World Cinema Classics

World cinema classics #21


Blood of the Beasts (1949) – Georges Franju (If embedded play does not work click here.)

My series “world cinema classics” is usually dedicated to fictional feature films. This film is short, and documentary, but nevertheless, the poetic qualities of the French language original give an air of uncanny fictionality which made me consider it for the series. An excellent film if hard on the stomach.

Previous “World Cinema Classics

Icons of erotic art #1

“La Prière” [1], 1930 is a black and white erotic photograph by French surrealist Man Ray. It shows the buttocks of a woman, through her legs extend her hands with which she shields her sex. Her hands are folded in the manner of a prayer, hence the title.

Google gallery of “La Prière”.

Digression #1: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep: a macabre prayer/poem for children:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Digression #2:

Maria_Magdalene_praying by Ary Scheffer

Maria Magdalene praying by Ary Scheffer

Guilty pleasures #3


Cargo de Nuit (1983) Axel Bauer

The clip is directed by French photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino (1983). It is an homage to the movie Querelle by Fassbinder. To us, in the early eighties, Querelle was the quintessence of the macho/gay sensibility and it was copied by musicians such as Luc Van Acker on the cover of The Ship[1] album. Jean-Paul Gaultier appropriated this seaman’s aesthetic and celebrated it all through the early eighties.

Querelle (1982) – Rainer Werner Fassbinder
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Fassbinder’s adaptation of Jean Genet’s novel features surreal sets that underscore the dreamlike quality and abstraction of the novel. It was Fassbinder’s final and, by his own words, most important movie.

Digression #1: Axel Bauer is not related to John Bauer:

John Bauer

John Bauer



Ubu et la grande gidouille (1987) – Jan Lenica

Ubu et la grande gidouille is a 1987 French language feature animation film by Jan Lenica based on the work of Alfred Jarry.

From the excellent collection of experimental films by Youtube user TheMotionBrigades, from which { feuilleton }, culled to report on Karel Zeman. Also check, from the same collection, new work by Walerian Borowczyk  such as Encyclopedia de Grand Maman.