It seems of late that Arrow Video is upping its game somewhat, in terms of branching out to more niche titles. Already in the first part of this year we have had two splendid Mario Bava HD releases (Black Sunday and Lisa and the Devil respectfully), both of which live up to their fan’s expectations.
Now in the same month as the aforementioned features (and just in time for a saucy Valentines viewing) Arrow has three separate releases for adult film pioneer, Radley Metzger. First up we have Camille 2000, followed closely by The Lickerish Quartet and finally there is Score.
I hasten to use the word pornography to describe them, as they’re certainly more tasteful and better shot then a large portion of sexploitation flicks. Of the three features Camille 2000 stands out as the more enjoyable piece with its swinging excess and downbeat conclusion.
Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas entitled La Dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias) this 1969 steamy romp of a man’s hunt for the perfect partner is a truly enjoyable psychedelic trip. One will certainly be taken aback by its postmodern styling’s peppered throughout it. Most notably is the fourth wall breaking opening, where a camera slate is used to indicate the films start (and again it is used at the end of the picture).
Like most adult features from the late 60s and early 70s, the sex scenes are filmed in an almost dreamy hazy that allows it to slip into the more art-house aesthetic. What’s most shocking is just how tame this feature is compared to more recent mainstream features and their depictions of sexual relations.
It’s also stunningly shot in places, for instance when Marguerite goes to her room (towards the start) the use of deformed interior mirrors help to distort her image. Effectively showing her to be a fractured identity, it’s really rather impressive in terms of narrative framing and more then one would expect to see in this genre of film.
Likewise towards the end of the film where Armand is searching for her in the hospital, the stylized corridors are a visual treat (almost Kubrick-like in its visuals at times).
This masterful eye is also carried over into the films use of colour; the pure whites, yellows and pastels help to invoke the glamorous but addictive and shallowly vibrant lifestyles of Marguerite and Armand.
Restoration Of Camille 2000 is an interesting look at the re-mastering process done in 2011 (the image quality is impressive for such a niche title). Two deleted scenes are also included, Sylviane’s Complete Striptease and Cube Love Scene (and alternative take), both of which have been re-mastered.
Finally the release is topped off with a selection of trailers for Metzger’s other releases this month. Unavailable at the time of the review was the essay booklet by sleaze critic Robin Bougie.
As an entry level Metzger flick, Camille 2000 is the perfect place to start. Its eye-watering in its visual connotations and iconography, while the style is unquestionably groovy. Recommended for those that can bare the saucy excess on display. Camille 2000 is available now as a dual format release with original artwork from The Red Dress
Next to be reviewed, The Lickerish Quartet.