Nov 9, 2011
Without question, the Italian work Simona (1974) directed by Patrick Longchamps is the best film ever created based on the writings of French transgressive author Georges Bataille. Forget the pompously putrid performance art documentaries (Visions of Excess, The Monster in the Night of the Labyrinth) starring HIV-positive homo-sadomasochist Ron Athey and Andrew Repasky McElhinney's obscenely degenerate porn flick Story of the Eye (2004), Simona is the only film based on the work of Bataille that deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence with the unabashedly decadent French author. Simona is based on Bataille’s 1928 novella Story of the Eye and like the book, the film manages to do the seemingly impossible by successfully combing art with eroticism for a most savory feast of sensual aesthetic overload. Thankfully, Simona is not a mere rehashing of Bataille’s book but a work that uses the original story as a sturdy skeleton for its many exquisite vignettes and delectable erotic scenarios. Simona is a cumming-of-age story about a beautiful and luscious lady named Simona (played by Italian goddess/actress Laura Antonelli) who generously carries along a young and naïve man-muse named George and uses him as a she-devil’s plaything. Simona and George mischievously romp around the countryside, using everything from dairy products to clergymen as unconventional sex toys. Along the way, the twosome turns into a threesome when they virtually kidnap a cute but somewhat reluctant blonde girl. Although featuring deviant sex and nonstop full-frontal nudity throughout, Simona is a rare work of cinematic eroticism with class and without comprise that is guaranteed to titillate and tantalize the coldest of puritan prudes.
Near the beginning of Simona, the leading lady lets her boy toy know that, “milk is for the pussy” and, naturally, she acts accordingly, cooling herself off by sitting panty-less in a pleasant plate of delicious liquid dairy. Simona is certainly a committed proponent of body-wetness as she also finds the ocean to be a grand place for sexual exposure and team-based body ravagement. Some of the most breathtaking scenes featured in Simona are of a seaweed-heavy sex-triad on the beach. Taking cues from Nicholas Roeg (his collaborator Donald Cammell would later re-edit an English language version of the film that was never released), Simona features abstract and non-linear editing throughout, jumping back-and-forth from vulgar yet voluptuous scene-to-scene. Thus, due to the film's consistently erratic editing and always engrossing scenes, Simona proves to be an unflinchingly enthralling experience throughout. Like Bataille’s novella, Simona truly has the feel of a person recalling their precious, pheromone-heavy memories. Thankfully, Simona manages to “cut the fat” when it comes to recalling the most penetrating and stimulating of her infamous personal history. Whether it to be her valiant attempt to seduce a pussy priest with her pussy or life-shattering personal tragedy, not a dull moment is stored in the beauteous lady’s beautiful mind.
Generally, when watching erotic Euro-sleaze flicks from the 1970s and 1980s, I am somewhat repelled by the domineering hippie “free love” atmosphere. Simona is different in that it has a timeless quality that fails to reek of pot smoke and venereal diseases. Featuring Baroque architecture and nude live-human-statues, the film is also a somewhat clever and tasteful erotic mockery of the Roman Catholic Church. Unsurprisingly, the film concludes with the quote, “…you can be Saints, either in a religious sense, or in an erotic sense” by Italian novelist Alberto Moravia. Indeed, Simona has an almost religious and spiritual tone to it, as if it is a perfect therapeutic response to the sexual repression caused by the Catholic Church. I consider it nothing less than the phenomenon of synchronicity that I happened to be reading Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran’s early work Tears and Saints during the same time as my viewing of the film. Simona is blasphemy gone beautiful; a meritorious trait indubitably shared by source-writer Bataille.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 11:49 PM
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