9 February 2014

Blu-Ray Review - Frivolous Lola (1998) & Cheeky (2000)

From the opening moments of Frivolous Lola, in which the titular character rides her bicycle around a busy town square where every gust of wind lifts up her dainty summer dress to reveal her buttocks to the on looking townsfolk, we are aware that Tinto Brass as a fetishist fascination with the female derrière. A fascination that becomes so explicit by the time we get to Cheeky that the buttocks are no longer enough and the anus becomes the subject of his leering eye.

Without wanting to bore you with any description of either films’ plot, or lack thereof, I will get straight to what engaged me while watching these auteurist soft-core porn films. In Frivolous Lola Brass tries to bring some form of criticism to his own work, or at least his target audience, through the introduction of a cartoonish voyeur. And then in Cheeky he tries to intellectualise the proceedings, through the characters’ dialogue, with constant references to Freud and the idea that duplicity leads to jealousy and jealousy leads to desire. But both appear to be thrown in as feign attempts to achieve a sort of intellectual credibility. This fails. At least it did with me, as the films come across as merely scopophilic.

What surprised me most was the cinematography. At times it was simply sublime. Another nice surprise was that Brass was unafraid to show homosexuality, and not just the lesbian kind, in films that were made for and about male pleasures and desires. I was constantly reminded while watching these films of the Feminist writing of Laura Mulvey, in particular her observations regarding the way that women are confronted with their own image in a way that bears no relation to their own desires and that they are constantly being turned into objects to be gazed at by men. As she says: “Women are simply the scenery onto which men project their narcissistic fantasies.” And it is for this reason I can’t in all good conscience recommend these films, despite the fact that they hold a strange fascination. But I do have to concede that they are at least worth a look.

Shane James | ★★1/2☆☆

Cheeky | Erotic, Comedy, Drama | 18 | Arrow Video | 10th February 2014 (UK)| Dir: Tinto Brass
Yuliya Mayarchuk, Jarno Berardi, Francesca Nunzi

Frivolous Lola | Erotic, Comedy, Romance |18 | Arrow Video |10th February 2014 (UK)| Dir: Tinto Brass | Anna Ammirati, Patrick Mower, Max Parodi

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