I have a really hard time picking favorites of any type–I make no secret of this fact. However, it’s pretty easy for me to identify my favorite painter in the personage of Clovis Trouille. For a number of years, I was unable to locate a proper web gallery of his work, but the above link leads to an absolutely drool-worthy collection of his paintings. Go forth and be amazed.
Yes, the website is in French, but the paintings are in the international language of sexploitation hottness. Note: I am willing to take bribes and offerings in the form of any item from the gift shop–particularly those collector plates. Consider yourselves officially notified well in advance of my Very Important Zero Ending Birthday occuring in October of 2008.
Originally posted in MySpace blog 12/6/07
I just got around to watching Visconti’s “The Damned” over the weekend. I probably should have watched this lo unto two years ago when I was working on my Nazisterotica article for “Ultra Violent” Issue 7, but my brain was turning to pudding and I misplaced my good sense. [You guys try watching “Achtung! Desert Tigers” and “Love Train for the S.S.” in one sitting and tell me how your mind feels afterwards–I *so* leapt on the grenade for the betterment of exploitation journalism]
I knew “The Damned” was prime WWII costume drama stuff just from the cast (hello–Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin and the ever-swoonworthy Helmut Berger sharing a screen), and I was not disappointed. There are many things I’m used to seeing in movie-form (kinky sex: check, violence: check, full frontal nudity: check), but I’m still pleasantly surprised when *thoughtfullness* and *quality* are a part of the cinematic experience.
The story centers around the members of a wealthy steel-magnate clan in Germany during the rise of the Nazi party. All of the tropes of the period-piece family melodrama are in play here: power struggles, perverse heirs, murder, and incest, all with a backdrop of meticulous costuming and set design. Unlike some costume dramas I’ve seen from the same period, there are few details that are overlooked, a fact that makes the experience of watching this film almost entirely immersive. The performances vary along a spectrum of nuanced and brutal, which was very effective within the context of the film. Each character has a chance to show himself or herself as “gray” at some point within the narrative (even the motivations for the most vile of acts have a certain rationale to them), which adds to the overall unsettling tone of the film.
Bonus points for the fact that more than half the cast is possessed of *the* most fabulous cheekbones on the planet, and they are given plentiful opportunities to cast Significant Looks across the dinner table. The ability to brood convincingly is a quality that I find entirely more enchanting than is healthy.
One of my oft-recited opinions about films is that a movie needs to justify a run-time of over ninety minutes, and I feel that “The Damned” made good use of its over-two-and-a-half-hour screen time. The immersive quality of the film necessitated its length. And–yes, fine–from a purely selfih perspective, I find that the simple equation “More Helmut Berger = More Better” can be ever-so-aptly applied here.
Please note: this is way better than me sending long-winded Movie Notes on Netflix to you guys. I will make any and all movie-blather purely optional. You are so welcome.
Originally posted in the MySpace Blog on 11/27/07