Soft-Core pornography is a dying artform. In the late sixties and early seventies, this "mainstream" form of sex cinema was a hell of a lot more erotic than it's bastard offspring that fills up the wee hours of late night cable. The people in these films looked more like you're neighbors, and less the silcone ideal presented today, and stuff just felt...oh, I dunno....dirtier! It stands to reason that people should be aroused by more accurate depictions of attractive yet common folks having a go in the sheets than surgically altered, over made-up Barbies and Kens, but little by little, the gloss came into porn; out with the real and in with the ideal. It's a shame, because, while not an avid viewer of the stuff, I'd certainly watch more if it were as erotic as Jean Rollin's 1973 farce, Bacchanales Sexuelles.
Valerie (Couer) inherits her cousin Paul's (Hazy) Paris apartment for a few months while he's on vacation in New York. Valerie invites her friend Sophie (Morel) over for some small talk, vodka, and extremely hot lesbian sex. Sophie is awoken by catsuit wearing burgulars with huge nipples, kidnapped, and taken off to a private estate run by the wicked dominatrix, Malvina (DeBorghese) who thinks Sophie is actually Valerie. It seems that Valerie's cousin is in possession of a batch of photos that Malvina uses to blackmail people into becoming a sex slave. Valerie and Sophie's pal Fred (Bastin) find out Sophie's wherabouts after a menage au trois with an imposter maid, sent by Melvina to search for the photos. When Valerie and Fred break in to Melvina's estate with a plan to liberate all of her sex slaves, Melvina.....umm...you still reading? Yeah, okay, the story sucks and doesn't matter. You want to know how much sex there is, dontcha?
Allright my little piggies, I'll tell ya all about it.
Rollin has these actors in more positions than the Kama Sutra, and while the sex is at both times simulated and/or well concealed, it's damned erotic. The scene between Valerie and Sophie at the beginning of the film will definitely stir loins, and, to be honest, I think it's all the hotter that some stuff is left to the imagination. However, I watched this with my girlfriend, and while she admits it was "okay" as far as erotica goes, she continuously pointed out the fact that it was often too obvious that the guys were all....er..petered out...um...during love scenes. It actually looks as though they are wearing genital patches, while in most cases it is obvious the woman is not. Her argument was not a desire to see penises (...and the moon is made of cheese and I'm it's mayor) but a desire for some sort of soft-core equality, which I can understand. We certainly do see a lot more of the female anatomy than the soft-core rules usually allow, but the male characters go out of their way not to reveal themselves, often clenching their legs together and mounting a woman like a stuffed marlin, or grinding against them at an impossible angle with their thigh. It's distracting when pointed out, but thankfully vanishes from memory when another hot looking pair of girls start tickling each other in a tub.
The DVD from Synapse is another example of the company's determination to buck all trends and dig up the most obscure films imaginable. Sadly this disc bucks Synapse's own trend of including loads of quality extras and doesn't offer a single bonus feature. The anamorphic widescreen transfer is a bit dodgy at times, but is clean for the most part, and handles Rollin's use of primary colors very well.
Bacchanales Sexuelles is a must-own for the Rollin fan, and anyone who fancies an erotic fantasy from a master of the genre.