Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jess Franco - 99 Women

The wonderful thing about being an old man is that you can tell the world to go fuck off and you don't care, because you aren't trying to impress anybody. The wonderful thing about being an old man who has been telling the world to go fuck off his entire life is consistency and clarity of vision.

Jesus (Jess) Franco has been telling the world to fuck off for as long as I have known him. In a world of right and wrong ways of expressing stories cinematically, he has always chosen the one that suits him best without reference to what anyone else has thought. As a result, he has always produced films with clarity and consistency of vision. His vision. He didn't care if anybody else liked them. He did and that's all that mattered...or so it seemed to this fan.

I could sit here and drone on and on about this great film and that and explain why it is great and why you should see it (or now obtain it on DVD if you can) or find an old copy of it online because it is no longer in print. His work belongs to a group of small independent-minded film makers that arguably made seventies films the ones with the most cinematic license. They didn't have all the special effects, high-price casts, best lighting or sound (in fact, dark and grainy were common characteristics of seventies films), and there stories even sucked if you're looking for high art, but they were true to the vision of their auteurs.

Today's films are damnably safe, commericially viable, and bland special effects notwithstanding. The guy who turns into a fiery demon and fills the entire sky with his flames terrorizing town after CGI town pales by comparison to the psychopath with a drill in the corner of the room watching the hot woman undress. After a while, you start yawning through the next spectacular computer effect in modern film, but you're on the edge of your seat until the killer makes his move in the older one.

Franco includes lots of nudity and sex, especially lesbian sex. A lot of guys my age have always appreciated that. And not just any lesbian sex. Hot women having sex with other hot women. What's to complain? His works have sometimes been dismissed as porno. He doesn't seem to care. If it fits in his vision it's going in and staying.

Consequently, a favorite subgenre of Franco is the WIP or Women in Prison such as 99 Women.


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