Monday, 5 July 2010



A highly artistic piece of entertainment for the undiscerning gentleman, in the same vein of sophisticated Euro erotica as Emmanuelle, this is probably the most famous movie to ooze from the mind of dirty old man David Hamilton. It's much the same as Laura and Premiers Desirs: soft-focus photography, teenage girls with a Body Mass Index of about 0.3, tinkly lift music, pretty scenery, hopeless dialogue, and endless, endless nudity. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if he's got nothing else in his bag of tricks then I'm not interested any more. And he hasn't, so I'm not.

I originally thought Bilitis was some kind of medical terminology like laryngitis, tonsilitis: inflamation of the bil, whatever the bil was. Turns out it's pronounced like cricketers and it's the highly improbable name of a young girl at a European finishing school. After an extended mass skinny-dipping sequence which is only there because the film's been running for a whole five minutes and hasn't had any nipplage or pubage yet, Bilitis (Patti D'Arbanville, actually 25 at the time) goes to spend the holiday with her guardians: she's impossibly glamorous and he's a cad, a rotter and a bounder. Frankly Bilitis is a bit of a moody cow. She tastes and loses her first love, a photographer in a red V-neck jumper, then tastes and loses her second love in a tedious lesbian sequence with her impossibly glamorous guardian, and decides to find a new man for her now that the caddish husband is no longer around. It does not end well.

On several occasions I had to look away. Not because I was revolted, but simply to ensure that my eyesight wasn't going. I know that watching these movies is supposed to make you go blind, but since the photography is so Timotei soft that the focussing is obviously done in Braille, it's equally obviously the result of making them. Add to that the horrible VHS tape source and you'll be too worried about the sudden attack of glaucoma to even think about self-stimulation.

Yes, it's very pretty, and the music score is pleasant enough on CD, but while the misty look might work for a coffee table hardback about Nude Photography, it doesn't work for a movie and there's nothing here we haven't seen before, and crisper. It's not erotic, and it's not any fun. No more David Hamilton for me, thank you very much.


1 comment:

Digitalli said...

I've never seen this but LOVE the music. Have been trying to remember the name of it for ages as I used to have it on vinyl, so thanks for that