Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Apocalipsis sexual

Though written and directed by Carlos Aured this 1982 Spanish entry has something of a Jesus Franco feel to it, thanks to the presence of the iconic Lina Romay and Ajita Wilson and somewhat subversive way in which it approaches its subject(s).

Let's just say it's hard to find screengrabs from this film that are acceptable to post...

The story is one of a group of kidnappers who abduct the daughter of a wealthy businessman and subject her to all manner of abuses. Despite, or more disturbingly because of this, she develops a case of Stockholm Syndrome, particularly in relation to the gang’s leader. This in turn leads to increasing divisions amongst them...

In its presentation the film is more a hardcore porn than crime thriller however, perhaps somewhat reminiscent of a Hot Summer in the City, Spanish-style. For the bulk of the running time is taken up by a procession of sexual numbers. Certainly some of these are integrated, having a narrative function. Much of the time, however, they are simply there, more as the raison d’etre than padding.

This is foregrounded by the way the all-important opening moments play out, with nearly five minutes of faux-lesbian poolside action between Romay and another woman before one of the other gang members cools them down with a bucket of water and announces that it is time to go to work.

The kidnapping takes up the next three minutes or so, following which there are another seven minutes of sex scenes. Then we get the first humiliation of the virgin victim, involving a pool cue being inserted into her vagina and the deliberately awkward blurring of the boundaries of yes/no, pleasure/pain and so forth.

The face of the victim/'victim' during the pool cue scene

Following this, at 23 minutes in – all timings here refer to the Italian dubbed version, which runs a brief porn-like 68 minutes – one of the kidnappers makes their ransom demand, while another exchanges pleasantries with the victim. He then watches as the three women amongst the gang have sex, whilst another of the men rapes the victim.

The two sex scenes are cross-cut, the same porn funk cue and dubbed moans playing over them to again make us wonder how we are supposed to respond, The subversive effect is however somewhat undercut by the porn convention of the external ejaculation being used in both scenes, with the lesbian three way in the first perhaps thereby perhaps also being recontextualised as appetiser to the heterosexual main course.

By now the pattern is becoming increasingly clear: A brief scene in which an exchange of dialogue or looks exposes the changing relationship between the victim and one of her kidnappers, followed by a longer sequence in which bump and grind takes precedence and narrative grinds to a halt.

A reprise of the pool cue scene, this time involving a flick knife, further confirms that this is not a film for everyone; it might however make for an interesting double bill with Paul Schrader's Patty Hearst for anyone feeling especially perverted.

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