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Sigismond (Joe Dallesandro) is a man lost in an erotic haze which clouds his judgment. Early in the film, it is evident that the man has a physically passionate relationship with his wife, with whom he has a son. While on a business trip to Paris, he comes under the spell of a famous, beautiful prostitute (Sylvia Kristel) who resembles his wife. However, his efforts to monopolize her attention are not appreciated by her pimp, and he is severely beaten. When he gets a letter informing him of the death of his wife and son, he is totally devastated. Written by
An unconscious parody of "The Blue Angel" and its ilk
The once-in-a-lifetime teaming of two '70s pop culture icons, Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro and Sylvia "Emmanuelle" Kristel, is worth the price of admission alone and the fact it's an awful (albeit awful pretty) movie doesn't hurt, either. It fancies itself a European art house film and even tries to go Bertolucci's LAST TANGO IN Paris one better by laying on the kinkiness with a trowel but the results are more laughable than erotic.
"Little Joe" plays Sigimond Pons, a man who seemingly has it all: a successful career, a gorgeous wife, an adorable son, and a beautiful home with live-in help. He and his wife vow never to betray each other but there's trouble in paradise as soon as his boss sends him to Paris for a week. Once there, Siggie's dark side emerges and he begins leaving his hotel at night to prowl the city's red light district looking for ...something.
He finds it when he locks eyes with Diana (Sylvia Kristel), a prostitute he encounters in a bizarre hotel-cum-brothel. Grabbing his crotch, she leads him upstairs to a toilette and from this point on, the film becomes a kaleidoscope of images meant to convey sexual decadence: lots of red rooms and lipstick, black feathers, panties, and hose (even a black midget) with a little voyeurism and homosexuality thrown in, all in an attempt to make Paris seem like Sodom. Sigimond gets his shirt ripped off and his nipples twisted while getting a hummer before taking Diana from behind and licking her feet in what looks to be a send up of THE NIGHT PORTER and before you know it, he's besotted. Then there's the egg episode; during a bout of lovemaking, Siggie pulls an egg out of a paper bag and torments Diana with it, rolling it all over her body and I was nearly on the edge of my seat wondering where that egg was gonna end up (I needn't have worried, tho -it's softcore, after all). Diana also performs a neat party trick by using her stomach muscles to launch the egg from navel to bush and makes him pay extra for mussing up her hair.
The story gains momentum as Sigimond spirals downward and, throwing caution to the wind, he pursues Diana even after receiving a letter telling him his son has drowned in the family pool and his wife threw herself out the window. Nothing can break the hold this hooker has over his libido, however, and it doesn't take rocket science to figure out the chances of a happy ending are slim to none...
Watching STREETWALKER was a very discombobulating experience; I got to bask in a film that's lovingly lensed while being pummeled by pretentiousness and beaten with blatant symbolism at every turn from Siggie and his wife running for cover as a thunderstorm looms on the horizon to the soundtrack blaring "I'm Not In Love" when Diana has sex. Using dairy products as sex aids was nothing new in the free-wheeling '70s, I know, but did Borowczyk think this film would do for Joe and the egg what butter did for Brando in LAST TANGO?? There's no other explanation.
The entire "affair" would have played much better as a black comedy and it's too bad "Little Joe" didn't make this for director Paul Morrissey and the Warhol gang since it could have been a wicked send-up of Josef von Sternberg's THE BLUE ANGEL. In any event, it's a goldmine of unintentional humor so the end result's the same, I suppose. There's a lot less to this than meets the eye and I didn't drive myself nuts wondering what it all meant -it was hard enough just trying to recall who performed those U.S. pop rock tunes on the soundtrack. If you'd like seeing a pair of somnambulistic sex stars have softcore sex in soft focus and enjoy bad movies with good intentions, I say "Don't miss it" but otherwise, "You've been warned".
Cult director Borowczyk went on to make EMMANUELLE 5 a decade later and although it didn't star Sylvia Kristel (unfortunately), the egg made another cameo appearance and Variety called the film an "unconscious parody". It's nice to know Mr. B hadn't lost the magic touch.
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