Nina Forever

Nina Forever 1
Nina Forever

Format: DVD, Blu-ray, VOD

Release date: 22 February 2016

Distributor: Studiocanal

Directors: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine

Writers: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine

Cast: Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry

UK 2015

98 mins

This original ghost story looks at grief with both humour and poignancy.

The debut feature from Ben and Chris Blaine is a blackly comedic character study that takes its setup from a fairly common circumstance – the prospect of starting a new relationship in the shadow of much-beloved or outstanding former partner. However, while a number of relationships are haunted by the intangible spectre of a previous love, in Nina Forever the problem is a little more substantial, in every respect.

Following the death of his girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Outcast) in a car accident, Rob (Cian Barry, Real Playing Game) has quit his PhD, taken a minimum wage job at a supermarket, and even tried a half-hearted attempt at suicide. His tragic story has caught the attention of Holly (Abigail Hardingham), a co-worker and trainee paramedic with a fascination for all things morbid. The pair begin a tentative relationship, but their first attempt at consummation is rudely interrupted when the formerly deceased Nina appears in the bed with them, limbs twisted from the crash and dripping blood. Equally surprised by her sudden return to corporeal existence, she is not impressed by the other girl’s presence. When Rob points out that she’s supposed to be dead, Nina snaps back: ‘That doesn’t mean we’re on a break!’

Despite the fact that Nina reappears whenever they try to have sex, Rob and Holly do their best to maintain their relationship, even trying to bring the ex-ex into a somewhat unorthodox ménage à trois situation that nonetheless fails entirely. Their other attempts, including having sex on Nina’s grave, are equally unsuccessful. Eventually a series of unforeseen events forces Rob and Holly to reassess the situation and the possible reasons behind it.

Even though it presents a number of humorous moments, Nina Forever is actually a serious look at the nature of grief (and to a lesser extent attraction). Rob and Holly might be struggling to deal with Nina’s very real presence, but the dead girl’s parents are no less affected, even though it’s only intangible memories they are trying to process. They’re not even able to move on in the ways Rob is attempting; he can blot out and replace his memories, but that’s simply not an option for Nina’s parents. Ironically their only desire (to have their daughter back with them) has turned into Rob’s nightmare, highlighting the somewhat transitory nature of his grief as compared to theirs, which can never be removed, only accommodated.

However, although they are dealing with serious themes, the Blaines are also careful to balance the more sober elements with humorous situations and witty dialogue, including Nina’s priceless observation that putting white sheets on the bed might not be the best way to go, all things considered. All three primary cast members are solid, but Abigail Hardingham gives a standout performance in a role that could easily have become a fairly archetypal ‘weird girl’. It’s good to see that her career as a paramedic becomes something more than just an extension of her morbid interests, thanks to a key scene that shows she may have a genuine talent for helping people in distress. In all Nina Forever is a confident, original debut that suggests Ben and Chris Blaine may have an interesting career ahead of them.

Jim Harper

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Five Dolls for an August Moon

Five Dools for an August Moon
Five Dolls for an August Moon

Format: Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD)

Release date: 1 February 2016

Distributor: Arrow Video

Director: Mario Bava

Writer: Mario di Nardo

Cast: William Berger, Ira von Fürstenberg, Edwige Fenech

Original title: 5 bambole per la luna d’agosto

Italy 1970

81 mins

A stylish but minor entry in the Mario Bava oeuvre with an Agatha Christie-type set-up.

Following a week long Mario Bava marathon, I approached Five Dolls for an August Moon with some trepidation for two reasons. First of all the cost that I and my family personally paid for the marathon had been brutal and bloody. Secondly Mario Bava himself hated the film, considering it one of his worst movies. For a director to be so forceful in his objections makes the potential viewer pause, but it must be done.

The premise is something out of Agatha Christie. On a remote island businessman George Stark (Teodor Corrà) has gathered a group of people together for a weekend of business and pleasure. Professor Gerry Farrell (William Berger) is a scientist whose new formula is the secret motive for the gathering and who will inveighed upon to sell it to George or perhaps his treacherous partner Nick (Maurice Poli from Rabid Dogs). Adding to the industrial intrigue, there’s also sexual shenanigans afoot as Farrell and Stark’s wives, Trudy (Ira von Fürstenberg) and Jill (Edith Meloni) are having an affair. Nick’s wife Marie (Edwige Fenech) is openly dallying with the manservant Charles (Mauro Bosco). Among this bohemian mélange only Jack (Renato Rossini) and his wife Peggy (Helene Ronee) are on an even keel, but the ingénue Isabelle (Justine Gall) stalks the house, a wide-eyed voyeur to the goings-on.

Following a jokey satanic ritual – only Bava would attempt such a red herring – the killings begin at a fair clip. There’s nothing particularly inventive about the kills – quite a few of the victims just get shot! – and the pace of the film doesn’t allow for much in the way of atmosphere. With Antonio Rinaldi’s brightly lit camerawork Bava replaces his mist-laced Gothic piles with postmodern kitsch and a swingy careless ease. The blistering rock soundtrack that punctuates proceedings with blaring guitars lends the film a great 70s feel but does little to promote dread in the viewer. If there were a few jokes, the film could almost be taken as a parody of the giallo genre that Bava inadvertently launched. The plot twists in a way that is so confusing as to be not so much surprising as dumbfounding, and some of the production feels genuinely rushed and slapdash. Bloodless bullet wounds and smokeless gunshots, fiendish plots that make very little sense, a title that seems utterly irrelevant and characters who are barely set up before being summarily dispatched. On the plus side, it is short at just over 80 minutes and an occasional shot will impress – glass balls cascade down a staircase like a pram down the Odessa Steps in one particularly well taken sequence. However, if you’ve never seen a Mario Bava film before I would point you towards several other films before arriving at this self-confessedly minor work.

John Bleasdale

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Something Different/A Bagful of Fleas

Something Different

Format: DVD

Release date: 29 February 2016

Distributor: Second Run

Director: Věra Chytilová

Writer: Věra Chytilová

Original titles: O něčem jiném (Something Different), Pytel blech (A Bagful of Fleas)

Cast: Eva Bosáková, Věra Uzelacová

Czechoslovakia 1963/1962

81/43 minutes

This new release explores Věra Chytilová’s early 1960s documentary-inflected pre-Daisies work.

‘It’s like guarding a bagful of fleas,’ says the chaperone at the textile-factory workers’ dance. The young employees jive to a rendition of ‘O Sole Mio’ with new Czech lyrics, which have special poignancy for Jana, who is about to lose her boyfriend to the army. She’s been creating trouble, both on the job and in the girls’ dormitory where she lives, boarding-school style. No smoking, no flirting, no sneaking out to the cinema, and up for work at 4:30 am – those are the rules. A subjective camera represents the point of view of Eva, a new recruit, making the audience literally share her newcomer’s perspective. We’re in her shoes as she first enters her new living quarters, where the girls stare, tease, and talk directly to the camera in close-up. We listen in on Eva’s private opinions about everything that she observes: ‘Go on, eat something, you’re thin as a rake,’ she thinks, as the dorm’s chubbiest member snacks away. ‘Strange, women dancing together,’ remarks her inner voice, as she watches her co-workers practising for the next party.

Fans of Věra Chytilová’s famously experimental and anarchic Daisies (1966) are in for a treat with another release of her work on DVD by Second Run. Last year they released two later films, Fruit of Paradise (1970) and Traps (1998), which took Daisies’ fantasy and feminism even further. This release of Something Different (1963) and A Bagful of Fleas (1962) takes us back to the beginning of Chytilová’s career.

Something Different presents a parallel montage of the lives of two women: stay-at-home mum V?ra and professional gymnast Eva Bosáková. The housewife is played by Chytilová’s friend Věra Uzelacová, with her actual son, Milda, as her naughty little boy. The athlete is shown taking part in a real-life international championship, but there are also obviously scripted sections of her story, just like the fictional narrative of Věra and her family. Their lives only intersect briefly at the very beginning of the film, in a transition from the opening sequence of Eva competing, to the living room of Věra’s house where Milda is watching the competition on TV. Chytilová’s talent for rhythmic editing, geometric framing and inventive perspective is already in evidence. Viewers might expect a film of contrasts between the mother in her private sphere and the gymnast in the public eye, but the women share a similar degree of boredom and frustration, and both briefly resist the confines of routine, expectation and isolation.

Compared with Daisies, these early films show more of the influence of documentary realism. The young factory workers in A Bagful of Fleas are non-professional actors improvising their lines; real foremen and officials preside over the Works Committee meeting where Jana is pulled up for bad behaviour. Even so, a gulf in attitude separates this from other films in the Czech New Wave, such as Milos Forman’s A Blonde in Love (1965); there’s also less of Jiří Menzel’s whimsical good humour, and more of Daisies’ knowing cynicism. Both A Bagful of Fleas and Something Different emphasise the oppressive narrowness of their characters’ situation.

Alison Frank

A Touch of Zen

A Touch of Zen
A Touch of Zen

Format: Dual Format (DVD + Blu-ray)

Release date: 25 January 2016

Distributor: Eureka Entertainment

Director: King Hu

Writers: King Hu, Sung-ling Pu

Cast: Hsu Feng, Shih Jun, Ying Bai

Taiwan 1971

200 mins

This sumptuous wuxia classic continues to thrill and enchant.

Somewhere in Ming dynasty China, Gu (Shih Jun) is a sign writer and scroll painter, living with his mum in his 30s and unattached, an embarrassment to her for his lack of ambition. He won’t take the exams that would enhance his status, he hasn’t married, and is far too content to spend his life with ink and paper for her liking. He isn’t lacking for curiosity, though, and observes the arrival of strangers in town closely. Members of the Eastern Group secret police force are turning up in increasing numbers, there’s a blind fortune teller (Ying Bai), and, more alluringly, Miss Yang (Hsu Feng), who has moved, late at night, into the creepy house/fort next door. Getting in over his head Gu finds that the latter two are fugitives; he’s a general, named Shi, she’s a warrior whose father has been slain by a corrupt official who has the same fate in mind for her and the rest of her bloodline. Gu is seduced by Yang, by her story, and by the chance to apply the military knowledge he has been acquiring his entire life. But this is not ink and paper, and as the fights, melees and all-out battles ensue, a lot of very real blood is going to be shed.

A classic of the genre, King Hu’s A Touch of Zen (1970) added an undeniable touch of class to the martial arts movie. It’s long, at an epic 200 minutes, it’s in Mandarin, as opposed to the Cantonese of the standard Hong Kong chop socky flick, and, whilst fully delivering on wild action, also serves up a fair amount of philosophy and contemplation, ultimately ending up in a decidedly trippy vision of Buddhist salvation that would go down like a lead balloon at a Sonny Chiba all-nighter. Moreover, A Touch of Zen largely eschews the formulaic vengeance dynamics that largely dominates the genre. Its bookish hero fails entirely to undergo training by a master and transform into a death-dealing warrior in order to take out the chief bad guy in the last reel. Instead he is taken on a far less familiar arc, left literally holding the baby as his battles are fought for him, largely disappearing in the third act. This hurts the film a little, because Shih Jun’s Gu is an immensely likeable and engaging character, a 14th-century proto-geek. There’s something child-like about him, dreamy and detached, and overtaken by his enthusiasms. His loss of innocence when confronted by the actual corpses that all of his invention has led to is genuinely distressing. Miss Yang also surprises, less for being so damn kick-ass with a sword or throwing weapon, which must have been unusual in 1970, if less so now, but for her no-nonsense attitude about what she wants and what she’s prepared to do. We can glean her inner turmoil from her furrowed brow, and we understand from the tragic past story what has happened to make her this way, but in her onscreen time she is taciturn and self-contained and, in Hollywood terms, bracingly unsentimental or sympathetic, in a manner that would still be refreshing and novel in modern cinema.

There’s a distinct change of tone for the last act, in a fashion familiar to fans of Eastern cinema. The mystery story with spooky overtones that dominated the narrative gives way to a series of running skirmishes against a new Eastern Group enforcer. Yang and General Shi come to the fore, and are in turn sidelined when the abbot of the monastery to which they are fleeing (Roy Chiao) takes the stage. That the film is not totally derailed by all this gear crunching is mainly down to King Hu’s film-making suss. A Touch of Zen is, if nothing else, an extraordinary piece of visual storytelling. It’s fascinating to see how Leone’s Westerns, themselves inspired by Kurosawa’s samurai films have been absorbed into this Taiwanese concoction’s stylistic bones, but A Touch of Zen is more mystical and multifarious than The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and has its eyes on more than gold. The film sets its scene with images of spider webs, moves on to countryside scenes, and shows us around the abandoned fort, with not a single human figure in sight for the first five minutes. Large sections are wordless, where composition, choreography and Wu Dajiang’s impressively expressive score combine to create a fluid whole. It’s about faces and figures moving in and out of shadow, beams of light cutting through smoke, and landscape after landscape. Hu’s restless camera doesn’t merely observe, it aims to bedazzle and concuss and terrify, summoning different moods and atmospheres depending on the demands of the story, progressing through dust and rock and rain through to the final reel’s colour negative and lens flare delirium. It’s a hell of a journey, taking us from, if not Loachian realism, then at least a recognizable domestic world, through increasing levels of stylised bonkers-ness to end up in the ballpark of spiritual transcendence. The latter fight scenes are of the typically gravity-defying, physics-denying kind, which would later be found in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and its ilk. Wang and Shi leap from forest floor to treetop and treetop to bad guy, dodging daggers along the way, each scene as delineated by setting and style as the musical numbers in a Gene Kelly flick. It’s fucking cinema, baby, and if you don’t get a jolt of sheer delight from such exuberant nonsense then I pity you.

For all that, it’s not flawless. The tonal shifts are jarring in places, the Scooby gang business of the haunted fort sits uneasily in the same film as the darker past, with its betrayal, torture and murder. And the third act feels like a sequel, of sorts, to the tale we have become invested in. It’s energetic and enthralling stuff, but sidelines characters we know to focus on, the Abbot, who’s pretty much the concept of Deus Ex Machina in person, stepping in to wrap things up where Gu, Wang and Shi have failed. These are quibbles; A Touch of Zen’s status as a classic is thoroughly deserved, it’s a wonderful thing, and looks and sounds fantastic in this Masters of Cinema restoration.
Bonuses include a booklet (including a vintage interview, Hu’s notes on the film from the Cannes 75 press kit, and the original short story that inspired the film), a documentary on King Hu’s cursed and blessed career and a great video essay on the film by David Cairns.

Mark Stafford

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The Plague at Karatas Village

he Plague at Karatas Village
The Plague at Karatas Village

Format: Cinema

Seen at Rotterdam 2016

Director: Adilkhan Yerzhanov

Writer: Adilkhan Yerzhanov

Cast: Aibek Kudabayev, Nurbek Mukushev, Tolganay Talgat

Original title: Chuma v aule Karatas

Kazakhstan, Russia 2016

80 mins

A unique nightmarish allegorical tale of corruption in Kazakhstan.

There have been a few Kazakhstan breakthrough films: Tulpan, The Gift to Stalin, Mongol, Kelin, Harmony Lessons and Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s downbeat 2014 film The Owners to name a few. The latter director/writer had the international premiere of his new film, The Plague at Karatas Village, at the Rotterdam festival, and in common with The Owners, this film deals – though more obliquely – with his deep disturbance at the lawlessness and corruption at every level of Kazakhstan society.

In this story, a well-intentioned young man with a mission to clean up the village arrives in Karatas to serve as the new mayor. In seeing a number of villagers in a state of illness, he recognises the symptoms as plague-related. The villagers, as well as the authorities, all insist that they have only the flu, and it becomes evident that the money that has been sent from central government to combat the disease has been pocketed by corrupt officials who have allowed the plague to rage unabated. As the new mayor inevitably and violently gets dragged down into this pit of corruption, with its attendant abuses of power and the resultant repression, and soon thereafter madness, he slowly but surely finds himself descending into a living hell.

That is the story, but the plot unfolds as a wildly surreal, weirdly mythological, elliptical aural and visual journey that is presented as a slow-burning fable where bizarre characters break into Saint Vitus-like dancing, fits and shakes, and make utterances and sounds like possessed ones speaking in tongues. The sets are darkly atmospheric with a subdued lighting and colour palette, while the performances range from zombie-like to overly theatrical, which gives the whole cinematic composition its uncanny feel. As it slips into a kind of expressionist horror scenario reflective of, according to its author, the rotten state of present-day Kazakhstan, the viewing of this film leaves one with the mixed sense of implausibility and surreal bewitchment. An opaque parable, and described by the jury who awarded it the Best Asian Film Award thus: ‘A story of corruption, the abuse of power and inertia are given an absurdist, Brechtian treatment. The director creates a totally unique universe, somewhere between Ionesco, Kafka and David Lynch.’

The Plague at Karatas Village is a curious fable that is not always successful at arousing – much less satisfying – the uncanny responses it hopes to stir in its intended audience, but is nonetheless the sort of committed filmmaking that needs making and rewards viewing.

James B. Evans

This review is part of our Rotterdam 2016 coverage.



Format: Cinema

Seen at Rotterdam 2016

Director: Park Hong-min

Writers: Cha Hye-jin, Park Hong-min

Cast: Lee Ju-won, Song You-hyun

Original title: Hon-ja

South Korea 2015

90 mins

A promising but ultimately disappointing elliptical journey through a labyrinthine Seoul.

The thin line between real and unreal, solid ground and liminality, sanity and insanity, dream and nightmare, certainty and confusion, is the wire that most of director Park Hong-min’s second film Alone balances upon. An oppressive mystery tour of the alleyways, rooftops, stairwells and labyrinthine passages of a tightly packed Seoul shantytown reflects metaphorically the circuitous nature of the protagonist’s mind.

As the film opens, he is looking out of his studio window and inadvertently witnesses masked men murdering a woman on a nearby rooftop. Since he is a photographer he grabs his camera and begins taking pictures of the crime. Having been spotted by the perpetrators, he hides away in his studio, but is soon located by the thugs who assault him with a hammer, rendering him unconscious. When he awakes it is night time and he finds himself naked and lying in the street. As he attempts to recover both clothing and memory, he runs furiously around the area, up and down stairs, in and out of alleyways like a rat in a T-maze – a T-maze that keeps heading into dead-end pathways. As he keeps sprinting around this physical and mental maze, he encounters a variety of odd characters and finds himself thrust into a series of strange and startling scenarios. These encounters are presented elliptically; their logical and chronological ordering shuffled like a deck of cards. Sometimes, similar events are encountered more than once but with different narrative frameworks intended to disorient the protagonist as well as the audience.

Now, this oft-used approach to plotting in arthouse cinema – a signifying indicator of the genus – can have its rewards, but it can be risky too, if not handled in a convincing and meaningful manner. There needs to be some sort of cinematic reward for the spectator’s work in sticking to the film and trusting the director and editor’s decisions as to story presentation, and in this regard Alone founders. The overall film did not present this viewer with any gifts for post-viewing reflection or insightful observations to be taken away from the cinema. It simply did not persuade. It has been said by distributors that for a critic to call a film a ‘festival film’ is a nail in the coffin for the sales agent, so apologies in advance, but Alone falls exactly into that category.

James B. Evans

This review is part of our Rotterdam 2016 coverage.

The Moulin

The Moulin
The Moulin

Format: Cinema

Seen at Rotterdam 2016

Director: Huang Ya-li

Original title: Le Moulin

Japan, Taiwan 2015

160 mins

A fascinating, contemplative documentary on 1930s Taiwanese modernist poets.

If you thought that it might be a tad painful to watch a nearly three-hour documentary on an obscure Taiwanese pre-war, avant-garde group of poets determined to bring a modernist agenda to the cultural table – think again.

The Moulin concentrates its eye on seven literary men who heroically formed a poets’ collective, ‘Le Moulin Poetry Society’, in 1933 in order to introduce the spirit of surrealism, and especially the ideas of André Breton and Jean Cocteau, to a Taiwan that had already been occupied by the Japanese for 40 years. Protest at this colonial occupation was a linked purpose of the group. Their chosen vehicle – in common with many proselytising artistic avant-garde movements of the modernist period – was the production of an advocacy journal, which in reference to its French intellectual affiliations and to its surrealist intentions, they named The Moulin. The intentions of ‘Le Moulin Poetry Society’ were clear: to lob a bomb into the body of historical Taiwanese (and by extension Japanese) artistic forms and to attempt to re-configure the poetic and artistic agenda. The seven were to be bitterly disappointed, however, as their journal and their aspirations met with incomprehension and failure, and The Moulin only survived for four issues.

Their hitherto forgotten story is revived in this fascinating slice of cultural history, which mixes old film clips, radio programmes and re-enacted scenes with spoken lines of poetry, on-screen imaging of the original texts and the incorporation of traditional songs, to paint an imaginative portrait of the group and provide a fulsome context for its understanding. The film interestingly notes a visit in May 1936 by Jean Cocteau, who enthusiastically showed his admiration for the Eastern culture that provided direct inspiration for the group.

The recounting of their story covers a turbulent time span in Taiwanese history, from the Japanese occupation, through the war years and to the 1950s annexation by China, all of which reflect the cultural struggle that the country endured. Utilising the dictum that ‘things are good to think with’, director Huang has chosen to reveal key aspects of the story not through facial close-ups but through his preference instead of close-focusing upon human interactions with objects of significance: the lighting of cigarettes, reading of texts, leafing through pages, gazing at photographs. This creates a poem-like reverie that takes its time to unfold and demands a contemplative response from the viewer to project meaning upon these ‘small’ gestures.

Huang Ya-li’s moving and expressive film essay is a revealing and memorable account of this forgotten slice of modernist history – a history that all too often relies on Eurocentric narratives and ignores the larger international moments that occurred elsewhere. This is a very welcome antidote to that centrist tendency.

James B. Evans

This review is part of our Rotterdam 2016 coverage.

Porno e Libertà

Porn to Be Free
Porno e Libertà

Format: Cinema

Seen at Rotterdam 2016

Director: Carmine Amoroso

Alternative title: Porn to Be Free

Italy 2015

78 mins

An uncritical documentary on the Italian porn industry from the 1960s to the 1980s.

‘Pornography should be entirely liberated!’ enthuses Bernardo Bertolucci in footage inserted into this documentary about the ‘tumescent’ rise of pornography in the Italian cinema of the 1960s–1980s. This period of counter-cultural aspiration has been the subject of several hagiographic and frequently mythologising accounts of the assorted social and political liberations – gay, straight, psychotropic – which bestrode the period. Indeed an entire nostalgic consumerist retro-movement in material and cultural matter revolves around it to this day. The very appellation attached to its origins, ‘The Swinging Sixties’, bears testimony to this.

Through the literal and metaphorical rose-coloured testimonial lens of the aptly named director, Carmine Amoroso (carmine indicating red and amoroso indicating amorous and loving; though in light of the present subject matter one might well ask, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’), this documentary traces the growth of Italy’s porn industry from the tentative ‘let’s push the boundaries’ spirit of the 1960s to the ‘let it all hang out’ zeitgeist of the 1970s onwards. It features interviews with pornographers such as Riccardo Schicchi (kicked out of high school, it is said, for spying on girls’ toilets, and having served a prison term for prostitution offences) and touches on issues such as censorship, sexual revolution and the popularisation of some of its stars, such as Ilona Staller, aka Cicciolina, who was elected to the Italian parliament in 1987 and married to the ‘artist’ Jeff Koons for two years before embarking on a 14-year custody case over their son, Ludwig… these facts being germane in considering the documentary’s unproblematic thesis.

In matters sexual, Amoroso has previous form as the writer and director of Come mi vuoi (1996), considered to be the first Italian film delving into issues of the transgender community, and Cover Boy: Last Revolution (2006), a story of two male cultures clashing.

In Porno e Libertà, a voice-over narration accompanies and contexualises the account in an attempt to historicise and revise Italian porn history. But the main polemical aim is to celebrate and legitimise the enterprise by using techniques of narrative and visual persuasion to turn the porn business into a great carnivalesque affair, unconcerned with capital gain and pre-occupied with sexual liberation. It’s an erotic carnival where no one is exploited, no disease, suicide or drug habits are present and profits are not greedily grabbed by producers and distributors; an egalitarian universe where performers ‘do it’ largely for the cause of freedom and hey, just plain fun. It has to be noted that a brief feminist perspective is introduced into the film but serves little balancing purpose to the overall thesis.

This is a documentary that is made unproblematic with regard to the darker issues of pornography and as such is simply a lively romp through a particular cinematic history for which few visual essays have been made. Taking advantage of the contemporary retro taste for porn of an earlier age – vintage porn videos fetch good prices on online auction sites – this celebratory (certainly not masturbatory) documentary is a journey to a lost continent. A seemingly innocent and Arcadian continent where women actually have – can you believe it? – pubic hair! Never has so much hirsute pudenda been spotted since the late 1980s. Porno e Libertà, while historically irresistible, is critically irresponsible.

James B. Evans

This review is part of our Rotterdam 2016 coverage.

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