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Raymond J. Barry,
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After his wife dies, 55-year-old businessman Philip Emmenthal, at the prompting of his playboy son Storey, populates his Geneva villa with eight and a half concubines. Three are from Kyoto, where Storey manages Pachinco palaces. Each has a distinctive personality: a nun, a child bearer, a gambler, a student of Kabuki, a horsewoman with a pet pig, a maid. Philip throws off his strait-laced and repressed attitudes, immersing himself in pleasure. After about a year, the women begin to assert their own power. Side adventures pre-figure the household's breakup, and the women depart in one way or another, one at at time. Philip's fate is in the hands of Palmira, his favorite. Written by
John Standing plays Philip Emmenthal, a banker who has just gained control of some pachinko parlors. His odd son Storey is looking after them in Japan, while Philip resides in his mansion in Geneva. When Philip's wife dies, he tells Storey to return to Geneva to console him. While there, Storey takes Philip to see Felini's 8 1/2, and it gives them both an inspiration to use their mansion as a bordello. They go back to Japan and bring an assortment of women back to the mansion.
The women are all unusual. One of them,a nun, has her head shaved, and speaks in a weird Dutch sounding language. Another one keeps getting pregnant. One falls of her horse. One has a huge pet pig. Storey, and especially Philip have both found a new lease of life. There are plenty of nude bodies on show, although hardly any sex. The two men continually talk about penises. Greenaway seems to have indulged himself in this film with sexual wallowing, with plenty of talk about sex, and nude bodies. But the film is not all that bad. Certainly not as bad as it was poorly received in Cannes last year. It is yet another Greenaway film that is beautiful to look at. The setting is nice, it was filmed in Luxembourg. Not one of Greenaway's best films, but certainly worth watching.
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