The film takes place in a seemingly abandoned house where a group of people engage in wordless acts of passion. It covers a period from evening to morning, and the sexual couplings among ... See full summary »
Andrew Repasky McElhinney
Melissa Elizabeth Forgione,
Kevin Mitchell Martin
Ambitious 70s gay porn from the very artsy genre director Peter de Rome, this features an American in Paris having a holiday romance with a French fellow, the two involved in some kind of elaborate game (or games) in which they enact scenes from films, see the gay-historical sites and rap about the movies/stars they love. All this is a rather delicate embroidery laced around the usual hardcore sex scenes, which here have the virtue of being superbly edited to music (classical and modern).
The couple appear to meet at a café, from which the French guy follows the American to an empty apartment, where they re-enact the famous first sexual encounter from Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris. Director de Rome films this as if he is as interested in the bodies relationship to the space they inhabit as he is in the two men's relationship to each other (if not more so, such is the degree of abstraction at times; the actors' bodies being required to get into unusual positions purely for aesthetic effect). After the sex, the French guy refuses to tell his American friend his name but they hang out together anyway (perhaps they knew each other before this encounter, it's not quite clear). They visit the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, viewing Oscar Wilde's grave, and the Chapelle Sainte Blaise des Simples to look at the Cocteau wall paintings. In such scenes, de Rome seems to want to put them (and himself?) into a gay artistic tradition. Once inside the Chapelle, the French guy peeks through a keyhole and watches a solitary muscle man jerk off - the credits name the onanist as Narcissus.
The apartment and the Chapelle seem to be the French man's fantasies, part of his "game." Two other sex scenes belong to the American; in one, he recounts in rhythmic free verse full of alliteration, internal rhymes and overblown romantic images ("his penis head like a Byzantine temple" etc.) an encounter he has with an Irish-Pole who lived next door to him in New York (the images repeat the content of the verse in more down-to -earth form); in the second, movie marquees advertising blaxploitation pictures (Shaft, Massacre etc.) send the American into a fantasy (in which he doesn't appear) of an orgy involving a group of black men in a grindhouse lavatory. The music - co-written by de Rome - playing over this is a funky number called Honey Man, with outré lyrics ("Let you loose in me / To shoot your juice in me..."). One other sex scene has the two holiday amours making love in a plush front room.
The film appears to be dancing around two ideas: one is the aforementioned positioning of the protagonists (and therefore the film) in a gay art aesthetic of poetry, classical nudes and decadent Romanticism; the other appears to suggest that these gay men create their sexual consciousnesses from bits and bobs they discover in straight mainstream culture. At one point, the two men talk about Greta Garbo (although she isn't named, merely alluded to) and a shaky grainy film of an old woman walking the streets of New York is shown, supposed to be the legend herself in her last movie footage. This is intriguing, as it brings together the film's two strands, of arty decadence (a la von Sternberg) and mainstream pilfering, as Garbo was a popular star enjoyed by heterosexual the world over.
Added to this are odd, random and quite inexplicable moments, like the sequence which seems to imply that the French like taking their baton loaves into pissoirs, dipping them in the urine and creating what's known as a "pauper's rum baba". Also, at the end, once the American has been dropped at the airport, the Frenchman drives back to Paris, on the way observing an out-of-shape prostitute woman fellating a client in a wood followed by an old tramp running in an collecting their scrunched, juiced paper tissue. Why these short scenes are in the film, de Rome only knows, but I suspect its something to do with the twice quoted Cocteau aphorism that "France is a cock crowing on a dungheap." A shot near the end of two birds flying over a stagnant pond seems to reinforce this, making Adam and Yves a strange and memorable experience, an odd hybrid of pornographic and poetic sensibilities.
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