Saturday, July 28, 2012
Eugenie... the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion (1970)
This will be the last film of Jess Franco I will review for a while, mostly because it's hard to find new superlatives for each new text. Franco often revisits same themes and ideas and that makes many of these movies seem a bit similar after a while, so I will end it for this time with another fantastic movie, Eugenie...the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion, as the DVD title says. The original title is Marquis de Sade's 'Philosophy in the Boudoir', based on de Sade's text by the same name, but honestly, both titles works very fine in the end. I have a tendency to prefer Franco's dark sexual dramas before his lighter movies and this is no different. Eugenie is a mature, intelligent drama with lots of nudity and a wonderful cast. The story is as simple as genial...
Marie Liljedahl plays plays Eugenie, the daughter of the rich businessman Mistival (Paul Muller). Mistival's mistress is Madame Saint Ange (Maria Rohm) and she makes him allow her to bring Eugenie to her private island for a weekend. There her perverted stepbrother Mirvel (Jack Taylor) awaits them, and what begins as a childish, drunken and weed-smoking day soon becomes more sinister when a cult worshipping de Sade arrives and watches the Madame and Mirvel sexually use and abuse the young Eugenie...
Being a story based or inspired by de Sade (I never read any of his works) Eugenie is a tasteful trip down sexually lane with some light spanking and whipping, tits and asses, drug use and an intercourse or two. Quite far from the excessive sleaziness Franco shot during the later seventies. This is both good and bad. Good because it gives Franco more time to shoot a stunningly beautiful drama and bad because maybe someone wants more sex when it comes to a movie like this. For me, it doesn't matter. This is high-quality sleaze with some kind of ambition to do more than just give the audience a hard-on.
Eugenie is a trip to one of the circles of hell, an almost supernatural story about living in a world about sex. Franco never says if this is a good or a bad thing, there's not judging at all and the open, almost surreal, ending both reminded me of The Beyond and
, if you get my
point. It also echoes the later Countess Perverse in style and concept. I would
love to have been a fly on the wall on this shoot. First of all we have the
cast, the very talented Liljedahl, a Christopher Lee that had no idea (yeah
sure!) of what was going on, the producers wife, the wonderful Maria Rohm, making
it out with Jack Taylor, a gay man that probably have seen more pussy than few
other gay men! Nightmare
Even today, in 2012, Eugenie, feels very fresh and modern. If it had more gratuitous sex maybe, but still. This is a movie that survived the years and still makes an impact that fits both the cult squad and the arthouse-aficionados. It's interesting how Franco had such a bad reputation from the beginning, because most of his works I've seen is actually quite classy - and they easily would gain more attention than his trashier production if we, the cult movie fans, would demand more of our movies than just boobs, gore and goofy action scenes.
Eugenie... the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion is another masterpiece, yeah, a perfect piece of arthouse-sleaze.