Saturday, January 12, 2019


I just finished watching Jess Franco's film SINFONIA EROTICA (1980) recently released on Blu-ray by Severin. This is another of Franco's films that I've missed in my various hunts through bootlegs over the past 20 to 30 years and I was glad to see that there are still so many little hidden gems out there for me to find. This one was made in 1979 and is another of Franco's explorations of the works of the Marquis De Sade. While now that I've seen the film I don't agree with the ballyhoo on the back of the Blu-ray calling this a lost masterpiece, I do find it to be absolutely fascinating in many ways. This is once again Franco in experimental mode using the camera as a questing eye roaming around the scenes to lock onto images as the actors deliver their lines. At times these movements and changes in focus are seemingly at random but when sometimes they click the film succeeds in bringing a fresh perspective on the story slowly unfolding before you.

While the film certainly has all of the exploitable elements that you would expect from a 1970's lensed Jess Franco effort it is very much a period piece as well. Filmed on a couple of gorgeous locations with some pretty decent costuming and an attempt to bring a sense of. Reality to things. The movie manages to once again do to me what more and more of Franco from this period of his career is capable of - It manages to mesmerize me. For an hour and 24 minutes I was caught up, dazzled, occasionally frustrated and sometimes overly curious about how he is doing what he's doing and why he is attempting to tell this story in this way.

From the opening we are told that there is a plot involved between Lina Romay's character and her doctor. It's not until the third act, of course, that we will learn what this plot is but along the way we see enough depravity around the home she lives in with her husband the Marquis to know that it would have to be pretty daunting to outdo the sexual nastiness and murderous intent of this woman's husband. Without ruining anything I'll just say that the finale is satisfying and journey there is one I'm glad I took. As with all such Franco works your mileage will vary.

Severin's Blu-Ray has a couple of significant extras too. A brief interview piece with Franco in which he talks about the ladies loves of his life. This was touching, warm conversation and brought a tear to my eyes. I miss old Uncle Jess. The other extra is an excellent 22 minute talk from author Stephen Thrower discussing Franco's work and this film in particular. As always, Thrower is entertaining and incredibly informative making this extra worth the price of the disc for fans.

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