The BoXing Day Xploitation Feature
Private Collections; a 1970s anthology film of eroticism and the fantastique, directed by three of the most prolific and professional erotic cinema auteurs of that (and this) time.I had such a great time with my Xmas Xploitation Triple-Feature that I went ahead and tried to replicate it this holiday season. Of course, as anyone knows, when you try to replicate something that had been absolutely amazing to you... well, you just can't. That's okay. It fully cements the amazing experience in your memory; and whilst you commence the futile journey of existential replication, you will inevitably wind up with new, different, and yet just as valuable experiences. So while I did not have the life-changing experience of viewing a trio of amazing world exploitation films in a single night, this reaching journey did take me to one film – a DVD – that had been obtained and had been sitting idly in my personal collection for a few months now; a hard-to-find (at a reasonable price) DVD copy of
Laura Gemsar stars in the first fable of the anthology's trio of half-hour shorts, directed by Just Jaeckin, which in itself holds several ironic retro pop-culture connotations – firstly, starlet Laura Gesmar starred in a string of Emanuelle films following the erotic blockbuster of the very first Emmanuelle film (1974) that starred Sylvia Kristel that had been directed by Just Jaekin – however, he never directed any of the sequels of varying branches of the erotic series that had starred Laura Gemsar. Jaeckin did direct the wonderful 1984 comic book adventure/erotica send-up Gwendoline that I'd first seen as part of last week's Xmas Xploitation Triple-Feature. Here, in Private Collections, he directs Gesmar in a gleeful tongue-in-cheek rendition of the popular Italian cannibal films – her Gesmar plays a jungle femme fatale that lures a stranded french sailor into her circle of sexually hungry island women. But soon, the fantasy turns into a nightmare for the stranded Frenchman.
Following this, in one of my biggest cinematic surprises ever, Japanese filmmaker Shûji Terayama directs a highly erotic tale of ghostly vengeance and lost innocence. This segment was so hypnotically beautiful that I wound up utilizing the rest of my night researching the works and life of director Shûji Terayama – and let me tell you, this is a cumbersome and inspirational story unto itself.
Finally, the film fell slightly flat (but not altogether!) because while I held the highest expectation for the third and final director, Walerian Borowczyk, whose previous films The Beast and Behind Convent Walls I hold in the highest regard when it comes to erotic retro-exploitation-arthouse cinema, delivered a rather subdued, and yet engaging tale of a single mother who tries to hide her son while she hopes to deceive her one-night-stand into developing a relationship beyond what it is, or ever could be. Wrong time, wrong man. There is beauty to be beheld in Walerian Borowczyk's final segment of Private Collections, but it's too minor, overall, to achieve a lasting resonance to the anthology as a whole.
However, also as a whole, the anthology is artistically and erotically (and a times even humorously) successful. Commercially? I have no idea. I'm watching it for my first time in 2015, a film that was released in 1979. But the very fact that I am even able to watch this film over 35 years after its initial European theatrical release has to speak something about it.