Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some Updates...

Stuff happening in the offline world (in contrast to Zembla, where nothing much is happening!) so this blog is not getting updated on a regular basis. The status quo should continue for a few more weeks.

Actually I am not all that busy. Just for example, I spent most of the last weekend reading, "How to Read Derrida" and thinking about the apparent "logocentrism" of western thought. Heh heh! I am not sure if I understand what it all meant but I think I have some vague idea. I will write about it when I get something concrete. And I still have about 50 pages left of Ian McEwan's Saturday, which is an amazing book, one of the best novels I have read in a long time. (Actually this is the first novel I have read in the last seven months!)

Also I wanted to write about a nice French soft-core film that I saw recently. The film is called Immoral Tales by some Polish Director named Walerian Borowczyk. It is a portmanteau film consisting of four independent stories, three of which are set in historical settings and one is contemporary. The subject and the concern of all four are the same -- the lasciviousness of the humankind.

Over time I have developed a significant aversion to pornography. These days porn for me has somehow become associated with the feelings of doom and despair. The sight of rhythmically coupling bodies on screen engenders thoughts about nature, fate and free will, while doing absolutely zilch about my libido. It was in this context that I found the stories and their depictions in "Immoral Tales" erotic. It is soft-core in the sense that there are no scenes of genitals or actual penetration. Although there are many long tracking shots of breasts and pubic hair which reminds the viewers that despite all the artistic prententions and socio-historical contextualisations, it remains what it actually is, a soft-core film meant solely for titillation. If at all, the director leaves some scope for learning some facts about history or mythology. For example one of the stories is based on the life of Hungarian "blood countess" Elizabeth Bathory (of which I didn't know anything before), who purportedly killed hundreds of young virgin girls so that she could bathe in their blood. Not much is depicted in the story but there are ample scenes of naked flesh, all very artistically photographed. And finally the countess herself, who is played by the daughter of Picasso (yes, the great painter). BTW, the tagline of the film says, "you don't have to go to a museum to see a naked Picasso"). Another story is about a lusty young girl. When her mother finds her stroking and caressing the various religious objects of phallic shapes in the church in a, well, lets just say, non-religious manner, she confines her in a room where the daughter has to make do with stuff in the kitchen (cucumber etc.). Again all very tastefully done.

Yet another story is about a young boy teaching his even younger cousin about the mysteries of oceanic tides alonside lessons about how to please men. This is perhaps the most beautiful part of the story. The sight of birds flying the sky over the ocean intercut with the scenes of the young lovers is just beautiful. Finally the film ends with a family orgy in the church involving father, son and the daughter. It is not as dirty as it sounds. I found it quite tasteful again (and I respect traditions, values and stuff). Overall a very healthy viewing experience. Recommended to all those who want to add some frisson in their erotic life.

Some links (All Safe for Work)

A synopsis of the stories.

IMDB entry of the film.

And article from the senses of cinema about the director. Contains some nude images.


km said...

"a nice French soft-core film"

What other kinds of soft-core films do the French make, Alok? :)

I too know very little about Bathory (there's a metal band by that name, which is all I know) but I once read somewhere that Bram Stoker's Count was based on Countess Bathory.

Good to see you back in the saddle, writing about Derrida, pornography and Bathory!

Alok said...

I think it is something to do with the subtitles. It keeps you enganged at "different" levels. Porn with subtitles hahaha :)