|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a striking feature by Joe Sarno that displays to the full
extent his skills in high-key black and white lighting, effective mise
en scène, and casting and directing actors. The series of models
parading in and out of fashion photographer Henning's life and bedroom
(in a not so subtle reference to the film BLOW UP), offers the perfect
opportunity for a cinematic and erotic exploration of the ideal male
fantasy, which is total artistic and sexual command of a stable of
beautiful and willing women. The nymph who enters his life, occupies
his spare room, and slowly turns his ideal setup upside down is yet
another component to this fantasy, at at least for the viewer, as it
allows for girl on girl scenes in which the models are further
dominated sexually, and in which there is more sexual variety and
kinkiness at play. Sarno's use of the female face captures the erotic
more fully than many films which are fully graphic, and the
psychological components of sexual desire are both varied and
Indeed, viewing the film made me understand fully what it would be like to be a male with the desire to sexually dominate a series of women, as it presents such a fantasy outside of moral concerns or even social concerns, but purely as a giddy lifestyle of pleasure from which no escape would ever be desired. Oddly enough, this also gives the women, who are otherwise so individual and so uniquely beautiful, an interchangeability that can be chilling to the heart of a romantic. There is a Sadean dimension to the pleasure that erases the importance of the women, even as they are made full subjects in terms of their equal and complicit engagement in the acts which they crave.
The man always remains intact and individual, insofar as he is the only male on screen in a sea of women, and because he is a complete person and an artist in his own right, liking sex but not needing it to complete and define him. The women, on the other hand, have no identity separate from what sex gives them (their inside dimension) or what their appearance offers to the screen and to his camera (their outside dimension). They are eaten up by both cameras and by the male gaze, in such a voracious way that there is nothing left to hide, and in this feat lies Sarno's skill as a director, that he can lay this vulnerability bare and get these actresses to go to places that you normally don't see women go in movies.
Therefore, the goal of the photographer in this film (to capture something in women that is fully erotic, fully female in the darkest sense), is met successfully by the protagonist's camera, and also by Sarno's camera. Even as the photographer in the film complains that he can't capture on film the expression that his lover has when she is transported by pleasure, Sarno's camera shows us this expression, and tells us at the same time that we are watching something extraordinary.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The European-style title is a bit misleading but that's exploitation
marketing at work. This proto-porn sexploitation film by the great Joe
Sarno bucks the 1964-1970 tide of roughies that flooded American adult
theaters. There's no physical violence against women (like the Olga and
Findlay Flesh trilogies) in this basic story of a New York City
photographer who screws all of his models in his studio-apartment,
falls for one in particular and then makes the mistake of allowing a
homeless aspiring model to crash in his spare room.
They eventually have sex that leads to conflict. But there is psychological violence that the loose cannon inflicts on everyone. The girl is a Machiavellian schemer with an odd, erotic appeal who seduces two of his models and him then leaves town but not before ruining his major photo project. This gives him a nervous breakdown at the fade-out. She has an almost supernatural look about her, something I've seen in other Sarno films. The somewhat monotonous sex scenes are shot above the waist in traditional sexploitation style and the stark setting (starkly filmed as well) is claustrophobic. Sarno breaks out of this hermetically sealed environment with a drive to the beach by the photographer and his main squeeze (the girl in the poster) in a fantastic sports car I couldn't identify and a scene in the street outside his apartment.
There's never any understandable reason why his models are all sexually into the shooter, who has more body hair than Sasquatch. The women are erotic but the film as a whole is not erotic. I wonder if Sarno was inspired by Antonioni's Blow-up in the basic set-up. It's a total male fantasy story as pbutterfly writes in her review. What I found most interesting of all was the nearly constant outside background noise of Manhattan's streets, the traffic and the car horns, on the film's soundtrack. This added an immensely strange tone to the entire film because if you have ever lived in a heavily populated urban zone, this is what daily life is like 24/7. Whether this movie was recorded with live audio or was dubbed in a non-soundproof dubbing booth in mid- town Manhattan is something I couldn't find out.
All the Sins of Sodom (1968)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Photographer Daryl (Dan Machuen) uses his connections to beautiful women to sleep with as many as he can. However, after sleeping with them he wants nothing else to do with them but that changes after hooking up with Leslie (Maria Lease). Soon Daryl allows a homeless woman (Sue Akers) to move in with him and before long more sins follow.
The more films from Joseph W. Sarno that I watch the more I realize that he was probably meant to be born in Europe where he'd probably be a lot more appreciated. Everyone talks about the way Sarno is like a European director and many like to compare his moody films to those of Ingmar Bergman. Now, there's no way, shape or form that Sarno is as great as Bergman but there's no question that his movies are a notch above what you typical see out of the genre.
ALL THE SINS OF SODOM isn't a complete success but there's still quite a bit of good throughout the movie starting with the performances. I really thought Machuen was extremely good in the lead role and he had no problem making you believe he was this character. I thought Lease was also very good in her role as was Akers. The three of them share a great and twisted chemistry and this here certainly helps keep the film moving. I'd also argue that the cinematography was drop dead gorgeous and was the highlight of the entire picture.
There were still some flaws including the fact that there's a bit too much plot and not enough of it really sticks to where you deeply care for any of the characters. Still, Sarno has created another moody film that his fans will enjoy.
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