|Title:||Venus in Furs|
|09.28.09||Alamo South Lamar||This Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2009|
Next up is my first Franco screening. I originally didn't intend to schedule all of these, but I'm a bit shamefully unexposed when it comes to his films so I figured this series would be a good place to start. Although in a way I started a long time ago.
When I was in college, I somehow heard about a cd called Vampyros Lesbos: Sex-a-delic Dance Party. I bought it and loved it and listened to it a bunch. This led to a naive DVD search of the film Vampyros Lesbos, which seemed to be doomed in delayed release. When Synapse finally put it out, I bought it on a lark to see what kind of movie could be so crazy to fit the music on this disc. Well, turns out most of the songs I loved on the disc were from other movies, and I quickly lost interest due to too much vampyros and not enough lesbos.
This was way before I moved to Austin and took any interest in these kinds of films at all. Instead, my knowledge of "these kinds of films" came from a different influential source of education and excitement: Cinemax Friday After Dark.
You see, kids; growing up before the internet was pretty tough. For instance, if you were a horny young boy just starting to feel the urges, there was no youporn or GGG or sluts on ice a google search away. Instead, you had two options: Live the shame of going to an adult book store and paying 30 bucks for a VHS or scouring whatever's on your TV late into the night, deciphering random nipples in the twisted signal of blocked pay-per-view or hunting through whatever European art film Cinemax could pick up for any sign of flesh. This was before the shot-on-video influx of fake boobs and shiny lip gloss. Less Red Shoe diaries and More Emmanuelle. I can't even remember how many crappy dubbed german, scandinavian, and italian movies I sat through just to see some bush. Some were memorable (2069: A Sex Odyssey), others not so much. However, I think I credit my patience for sitting through sexploitation films today to me sitting down in the basement all those years ago, inadvertantly picking up an affection for the weird slow taste of 60s and 70s sleaze while waiting to see the bikini tops come off.
So my first exposure to Franco was completely in this vein. Understandably, it didn't work.
Today though, with several seasons of Alamo tutelage under my belt, I was prepared to take in Venus in Furs on the other level. The dream-like atmospheric muck level rather than the tits-and-pubes-level. I wanted the musical groove tone poem, not something that necessarily made sense. It was in this mode that i enjoyed the film.
These women are unbelievably gorgeous. The music infectious and dynamic, driving the film to the point where the plot behaves like a song with verses and returning choruses and swirling elements that make it seem like the entire film takes place in just a few minutes like how they say your brain constructs dreams that seem to take fifteen minutes before incorporating the alarm that only started seconds ago. Istanbul, Rio, Klaus Kinski, a beautiful girl dead in the surf. What a fascinating experience.
It's also interesting to be so aware of how me just a few years ago would hate this movie. I think back to debates I had in college or my supposedly sophisticated tastes in between the child innocence of the 80s and a few years ago when QT showed me Tony Arzenta and have to laugh.
After the movie, Jess Franco held forth on a few topics, but that familiar festival itch started to take over when I heard people announcing other shows that were seating and I started thinking more about whether I would find a seat in the next movie or not than being fully absorbed in Franco's soft wandering voice. It's a real shame actually.
Wanda on the beach
Venus in Furs is smiling
Blow that horn, baby