10 August 2009 | lazarillo
Still photography at 24 frames a second
The usual rap on French director David Hamilton is that he is a "pervert". Give me a break--if every man who still felt some twinge of attraction to girls this age (16-20 years old) were to drop dead tomorrow, only the most committed homosexuals would be left to re-populate the earth. This is a French movie so many of the actresses here may not be "legal" by American standards. But if "perverts" (and by that I mean men) really want to fantasize about barely underage high school girls, they can watch an innocuous 1980's French nudie movie like this and really use their imagination to create sexual scenarios, or they can get an American-made "barely legal" hardcore porn flick where a young-looking eighteen year old in pig-tails and a school uniform gets gang-sodomized and triple-penetrated and they only have to pretend she's a year or two younger. Which do you think is more harmful to society?
But the problem I have with David Hamilton is that if it were possible to fall asleep with an erection, his movies could no doubt induce it. They are languorously slow-paced even by French standards. They are like still photography (which was Hamilton's principal career) at 24 frames a second. Unlike "Bilitis", this movies makes no effort to have a plot or drama (which might be for the best if you've seen "Bilitis"). It's basically just endless shots of a gaggle of young French nymphs sleeping (often in nude), showering, skinny-dipping, sunbathing (usually naked), fixing each others hair (in various states of undress), or having topless, slow-motion pillow fights. But it's all a lot more boring than it sounds.
I can't really fault Hamilton's photography, but he REALLY overuses the soft-focus (at times I wanted to grab his camera, wipe all the vaseline off the lens, and pull the damn focus!). I CAN definitely fault his taste in music. I had to laugh at an earlier reviewer who said this movie could be used to treat sex offenders. It IS kind of like the "ludvico technique" in "A Clockwork Orange" in that you have this footage of tantalizing naked nubiles juxtaposed with truly nausea-inducing music (although at least you don't have the banal dialogue of "Bilitis"--there's no dialogue at all actually, just a lot of giggling). Sure, this would probably work on sex offenders, but it would doubtlessly work on normal "perverts" too--not to mention guys like me, who of course only watched this disgusting filth to see the lush St. Tropez scenery--and now it's ruined forever (Damn you, David Hamilton!)