What can be said about "La Punition?" During the mid 70's there was a handful of these glossy S&M films, probably influenced by the success of Just Jaeckin's "Story of O." Well "The Punishment" is like "Story of O" on steroids; it's quite a bit heavier in both the sex and especially violence department. Karin Schubert, a familiar presence in many erotic and "grindhouse" films from the 1970's, is the centerpiece of this very cruel and mean spirited film. She crosses her cold-hearted pimp by not performing her required duties with one of her tricks. She is whisked away to a Gothic mansion, and locked in a room, containing nothing but a steel bed frame with no mattress, and a closet of bondage sex toys. The philosophy of "La Punition" is based on the idea that subconsciously, we all want to be "punished," or forcibly disciplined in some way. Karin Schubert, as the character Britt, is punished in some truly brutal scenes, including a vicious whipping that leaves her covered in blood. This is a movie that is specifically a product of the 1970's. It could never be made before this decade, and it most definitely could NEVER be made today. It is undeniably a fascinating piece of film history, that reveals a lot about the time in which it was made. Apparently women were still being objectified and judged solely on their beauty and sexual allure, and were seen as little more than trophies to be possessed by rich, or powerful men.
Having only seen Schubert in her "Emanuelle" films, such as the original "Black Emanuelle," and the ultra-sleazy "Emanuelle Around the World," with her tough attitude and her short, butch haircut, I was really surprised at how gorgeous she is in this earlier film. She really is exquisite here. And the film itself is also very beautiful to look at. It truly is a quality, art-house production, however the unsettling nature of it will turn many viewers away. There is a lot going on beneath it's glossy surface, and I think multiple viewings will reveal the film's bizarre philosophy, told through symbolism as well as startling images. I can't help but compare "La Punition" to "Autumn Born" starring Dorothy Stratten, as the two films are very similar. This is not a very well-known title, but this haunting, nightmarish movie is worth tracking down for fans of this genre. Wonderful soundtrack too..
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