Not a film review! Link to an actual review at the bottom of this faux-non post-modern-essay.
Not having the good fortune of being around when the movie was made/released, we finally saw this much talked about “obscene” classic of cinema.
Putting your mind in a non post modern framework for accessing a movie that has been followed by thousands more, some better, most a lot worse, since it’s release is not always easy but we give it a whirl as always.
Trying to place myself in a space and time to watch this movie, where Last Tango in Paris, Deep Throat, Behind The Green Door, Salo: 120 Days of Sodom, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (genre different, but boundary pushing all the same) had all not yet been created, released, remade and traveled beyond, to the thousands of endless porn/horror-porn excretions that are a click of a mouse away in our modern everyday lives.
Tried by a jury of automatons, eventually vindicated, and released to recoup great box office, and now released in a brilliant box set with I Am Curios Blue, by Criterion Films, it was a fun interesting and unexpected two hours. Filled with political theories societal concerns that run 30 minutes or so into the movie before a nude scene appears. Filling me as a viewer with interest on reasons why the film may have been confiscated and decried as obscene by customs and the American “Justice System”. But apparently, though full frontal female nudity had been seen and not objected to at the time of this films US importation/Release, the full frontal (flaccid) male nude scene was apparently not so common, and for some strange reason that would take a qualified psychologist to understand (unless we just go straight back to discredited Freudian theories) this pesky puritanical non-portmanteau-esque (not a large trunk) perilous pecker flaccididty was of great concern at the time. And of course the US Judge’s major fear that Lena in the film might have kissed the sleeping member with her actual lips! Ok so by now, as you have guessed, we have slipped out of my non-post-modern analytical time period, and am obviously extracting the urine!
Lots of political theories are espoused during the film by the curious Lena and her cohorts including, but not limited to, Non Violence, Nuclear Disarmament, equal pay and equal rights for women, and (a nail in the coffin) stern prosecution of “Vietnam war crimes”. Is it possible the political climate in the US at the time, that it was more of a concern that people en-masse (i.e. a large part of the adult movie going populace, who believed themselves to be viewing a skin flick) not be exposed to the ideas espoused by the protagonists of this film? And that censorship/banning of the film was perceived at the time to be the best way to stop this exposure? And come to think of it, how is a film like this seized at customs without foreknowledge of it’s content? NOT! Who had the job of going to Europe seeing the film assessing it and keeping track of it’s possible importation? Hmmm now I’m Curious about that!
We like an erotica skin flick as much as the next person, but this film was a welcome addition on our constant personal cinematic Odyssey in which we are always looking for cinematic gems old and new, this is one of our new favorites. Interesting in its play of reality/fiction /not reality/faux cinema verite style, which we found very amusing. Interesting for the theories espoused by Lena at the time what? 1967! and how are we doing on those equal rights for women when in the US we have what? weekly debates by men deciding what should be law for a woman to do to her own body? Where colleges around the country are bombarded with thousands of reports of sexual assaults (READ AS RAPE!) on female students?! Never mind equal rights and equal pay! Come to our college or our entertainment (“please give me money for a ticket”) after show party, get drugged and sexually assaulted, and maybe next year we will allow you to decide what you want to do with the illegitimate child of that abuse, but sorry not this year you victims are just going to have to tough it out! And don’t get the idea of carrying a mattress that you were abused on through the college daily, because that makes your abuser feel uncomfortable! Steubenville (back on the football team, as long as we have our priorities right) anyone anyone anyone? no too busy looking at Kardashian tits right!? Looks like banning a film declaring it obscene, and then having people think it was porn, when it is not, really saved us from descending into a 21st century Sodom & Gamorrah, good job! 50 years after the release of this film, and progress is…. show me!
Looking forward to watching the companion piece, I Am Curious, Blue, tomorrow.
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio, 3/10/2016.
Ohh and just noticed we are writing this 1 day short of Vincent Canby’s 1969 review, weirdsville at pistachioville as per….