A pretty young Mexican girl returns to her hometown to make funeral arrangements for her beloved aunt, who has just died. Soon she begins to hear disturbing stories about the town being ... See full summary »
Martine is a tough female cop trying to solve the kidnapping of young Caroline by a gang of pornographers. She already has an accomplice inside the gang feeding her information, but ... See full summary »
Finally seeing this film was a revelation for me, and I will keep my review brief so as not to detract from other buffs' discovery of its contents. Suffice it to say that this is one of the most successful attempts to combine over-the-top violent elements within a softcore sex film while actually making a real movie.
I have seen nearly all of Pecas's groundbreaking pictures from the '60s and early '70s and salute him as a pioneer of that borderline movie that was both art film and sex film (imported on the art theater circuit such as our famous Heights Art Theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio). Attending the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 I even had the opportunity to watch his action movie Deux enfoirés à Saint-Tropez, playing at a local cinema.
But none of these prepared me for BRIGADE. On the surface a routine gritty cop thriller, its integration of ultra-violence into the proceedings is unprecedented.
The only film that came to mind was Lee Frost's notorious A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER, but that movie is hardcore porn, while Pecas stays strictly within softcore guidelines. Similarly, the deviant '80s cinema of Phil Prince is hardcore porn also injecting violence. Nowadays pornographers avoid injecting violence into sex films due to fear of censorship.
Film opens with a familiar night scene of street hookers, de rigeur in countless French and Italian urban action pics, but soon we're in the morgue gazing at the corpses of several fully nude trannies. I began to wonder, given the evolution of TV from its squeaky clean 1950s shows to today's array of grisly police procedurals, if such a visual would ever be shown here (though American HORROR STORY seems poised to cross over the line soon).
Hero Jean-Marc Maurel's adventures on the vice squad solving a routine crime case are marked by scenes of violent dread that I found far more disturbing than the typical gorefest, because they were realistically staged and very well acted, rather than relying upon outlandish makeup or other special effects. In particular, there are two scenes of heroines being tortured that might even disturb Lee Frost at his most indulgent.
I look forward to a theatrical revival of this forgotten opus (Anthology Film Archives here in a Manhattan would be a perfect venue). Not a great film, but clearly worth hunting down as a one-of-a-kind movie.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?