Jun 28, 2014
As far as rare porn flicks that are drenched in shameless yet distinctly cultivated cinephilia, you probably cannot do better than the Franco-America homo hardcore flick Adam & Yves (1974) directed by French-born yet British-bred avant-garde auteur-pornographer Peter De Rome (The Fire Island Kids, Prometheus). Indeed, a sort of hardcore homo reworking of Bernardo Bertolucci’s erotic arthouse magnum opus Last Tango In Paris (1972) made in partial homage to cine-magician Jean Cocteau ‘starring’ Swedish silent screen diva Greta Garbo in her last (and ultimately unauthorized) film appearance and featuring a nasty little nod to Blaxploitation and even an obfuscated hyper-homoerotic ‘tribute’ to Leni Riefenstahl, De Rome’s first feature-length film is a cinephiliac mongrel of a movie that reeks of cinema history just as it does of urine-and-cum-drenched pissoirs. Produced by fellow auteur-pornographer/producer Jack Deveau, who also directed an artsy fartsy fuck flick in the capital of Frogland entitled Le musée (1974) aka Strictly Forbidden that same year, Adam & Yves depicts the brief and strictly anonymous “no strings attached” love affair between an American 'agfay' and a fairy Frenchman in Paris. In fact, De Rome would describe the work, which was originally titled ‘Etoile,’ in his memoir The Erotic World of Peter de Rome (1982) as being more or less a porn flick where virtually every scene is a tribute and/or parody of another film, writing: “The first episode is when he meets a young Frenchman in an unfurnished apartment in circumstances strangely similar to LAST TANGO IN PARIS. From then on, each of their adventures has its film parallel, and it becomes a guessing game to discover which film they are ‘playing’ – from a new and startling view of QUEEN CHRISTINA to an erotic extreme in black exploitation movies; from the extension of Le Sang d'un Poète already described to a discreet voyeur witnessing one of the more singular charms of the bourgeoisie.” On top of cleverly synthesizing cinephilia with cocksucking, Adam & Yves is also quite notable due to its decidedly degenerate depiction of Paris as a historically fucked fetish-ridden nether-realm where proletarian perverts dip bread into piss and eat it as a delicacy (according to De Rome, this is a real French tradition that is referred to as “baba du pauvre”) and old men snatch up the discarded cum-covered tissues of fat old prostitute as if they have discovered gold. Partially inspired by De Rome’s experiences in Paris 25 years before, “the era of the Left Bank, Jean-Paul Sartre and Juliette Greco, students in black and the flowering of the Flore,” had changed everything for the more socio-politically and aesthetically degenerate, Adam & Yves might seem like a curious mess of a ‘Doran Love’ blue movie today, but it is certainly one of the most ambitious, inventive, intelligent, and groundbreaking porn flicks ever made.
Aberrosexual blond Aryan American Adam (played by Michael Hardwick, whose sole other film credit is Boy-napped (1975) co-starring hetero-flexible Hebrew Jamie Gillis) is on vacation in Paris and he loves swarthy frog fellows, but he also complains, “You French guys are all alike…just love them and leave them…isn’t that about it?!” Like the two heterosexual leads of Last Tango In Paris, Adam meets and ultimately buggers his swarthy sub-Europid quasi-lover Yves (Marcus Giovanni) one day in an abandoned apartment and they have been anonymous fuck buddies ever since, as the French fellow finds serious personal relationships—be they sexual or otherwise—to be too “difficult” and refuses to even tell the ever inquisitive American his real name. While Yves proudly professes that he feels like “getting away from people,” extroverted yank Adam feels like “getting closer to them,” hence the dubious status of their romantic relationship. Despite not revealing much about himself, Yves is eager to expose rather repellant French culinary traditions, including a shocking scenario that Adam witnesses where an old frog practices the “old French custom” (a practice that apparently dates back to the 1920s that De Rome once lovingly described as “the poor man’s rum baba”) of dipping his long phallic-like loaf of baguette in the fermenting juices of a ‘pissoir’ (a sort of fancy urban public urinal that was invented by the French and is quite common in Europe cities) so that his bread has more flavor. While Yves reveals a lot to Adam about Paris, the American also describes his experiences as a New Yorker, especially in regard to a special, “day for a lay when the air smelled like a locker room. A day to blow or get blow” when he met a random half-brain-dead 24-year-old ½ Polish/½ Irish mechanic named Bud (played by the hero of Deveau's 1974 cocksucking cult classic Drive) whose “tower of power” he delicately blew. Indeed, like his French buddy, Adam is certainly a fellow that will very likely acquire gay cancer in the next decade or so.
Upon visiting the grave of the debauched Irish dandy poet Oscar Wilde, Yves proclaims to Adam like a truly hopeless queen, “Friendship is so difficult. So delicate. I’m single and have no friends. Only lovers, like poor Oscar Wilde.” The two lovers also demonstrate their sense of solidarity with the Wilde quote, “For his mourners will be outcast men and outcasts always mourn.” Naturally, the two friends also visit the tomb of French poet/cine-magician Jean Cocteau and Adam asks, “Wasn’t it Cocteau who compared France to a cock crowing on a garbage dump?,” to which his French boy toy replies, “no, a dung heap. Takeaway the dung and the cock dies.” Upon taking a pilgrimage to the 11th century Chapelle Saint-Blaise des Simples in Milly-la-Forêt, which Cocteau covered with murals and was buried in as per as personal wishes, Adam looks through a keyhole in a scene in tribute to The Blood of a Poet (1930) aka Le Sang d'un Poète and spots a young Nordic Narcissus (played by Bill young, who starred in Deveau’s Le musée, as well as De Rome’s second feature The Destroying Angel) masturbating for about ten minutes or so in a scene of pure body worship reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 masterpiece Olympia (quite notably, De Rome cited Riefenstahl as one of his influences in the 2011 documentary Fragments: The Incomplete Films of Peter De Rome). Later that night, Adam and Yves play a movie-guessing game quite similar to the one played by the three protagonists of Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2003) where they act out scenes from old movies. After Yves acts out a scene from the Pre-Code Hollywood flick Queen Christina (1933) starring Greta Garbo and directed by Armenian-American director Rouben Mamoulian, Adam describes how he once spotted the Swedish-born silent diva walking around NYC (indeed, Greta Garbo was shot by De Rome without her knowledge from top of a roof), stating of the experience, “It was one of the most exciting moments of my life…A living legend walking along First Avenue in New York.”
In an undeniably iconic scene leading up to most daringly degenerate segment of Adam & Yves, the two eponymous protagonists drive past movie theatre marquees for various Blaxploitation flicks, including Shaft (1971), Hell Up in Harlem (1973), The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972), The Mack (1973), and Five on the Black Hand Side (1973), among various others, as well as a shot of a billboard of the director’s very own 8-film compilation work The Erotic Films of Peter De Rome (1973). Set to the negrophiliac tribal beats, the Blaxploitation theatre marquee montage then cuts to a vomit-worthy black orgy in an extra-cramped public restroom, of which De Rome described as follows in his memoir: “For the black orgy scene in ADAM & YVES […] I had engaged fifteen actors, but being very much aware of the exigencies of the situation, I was going to take no chances. So on the way over to shoot the scene (which took place in the men’s room of the Lincoln Art Theater), I approached two hustlers on Third Avenue and asked them if they’d like to earn some easy bucks. They were both ready and willing, and my foresight paid off because five of my original fifteen failed to show and I was left with twelve, which is just about what I wanted – and quite enough to cope with in the confines of a ‘can’.” After the genuinely bestial and equally revolting spade gang-screw, Adam prepares to go back to NYC and says his goodbyes to Yves by melodramatically remarking “drive off” and “don’t look back.” After dropping off Adam at an airport, Yves spots an extra-mature Hooker of the rather overweight sort giving a blowjob to an equally fat and old bastard. After the Hooker finishes giving a hummer, she immediately spits the john jism in her mouth into a tissue, which is soon found by an elderly Hobo who is quite exhilarated by his major biological find. In the end, Adam & Yves concludes with the repeating of best line of dialogue from the two protagonists: “Wasn’t it Cocteau who compared France to a cock crowing on a garbage dump? [...] No, a dung heap. Takeaway the dung and the cock dies.” Indeed, De Rome seems to be saying that both fags and frogs need feces to survive.
Although never mentioning her by name, auteur Peter De Rome would describe his encounter with Greta Garbo that was used for his first feature as follows in his memoir: “Certain real-life situations provided me with scenes throughout the film, in fact. For many years in New York I lived very near a certain very celebrated and solitary lady who I’m sure would prefer to remain anonymous. I would sometimes see her out for a lonely walk and couldn’t resist the opportunity of getting some footage one day when she was passing my house on First Avenue. This I was able to incorporate into the film in a scene which recalls the famous ‘touching’ scene in QUEEN CHRISTINA. So that any filmography now would hardly be complete without her return to the screen in ADAM & YVES!” Interestingly, as the director explained in the documentary Fragments: The Incomplete Films of Peter De Rome (2011) directed by Ethan Reid, he planned to do a gay version of the classic MGM Edmund Goulding movie Grand Hotel (1932) entitled Grand Motel starring kraut queer sex icon Peter Berlin in the role that was originally played by Garbo. Indeed, make no mistake about it, De Rome was not only in love with Golden Age Hollywood, but cinema history in general, with Adam & Yves featuring one of the most bizarrely eclectic collection of film references in cinema history (who else would combine Cocteau with Shaft?!), thereupon demonstrating that Quentin Tarantino’s postmodern fanboy filmmalking gimmick is nothing new, as the little known British bum bandit with an even more unhealthy obsession with jigaboos was doing this decades before the Kill Bill director gave up his career working at a video rental store and began shoving incessant insipid exploitation film references in people's faces. Indeed, I suspect Adam & Yves would be much better known today if it were a simple (and straight) sexploitation flick as opposed to a full-blown blow-boy blue movie. Four years after the release of Adam & Yves, French auteur Jacques Scandelari (Beyond Love and Evil, Monique) would reverse the scenario of De Rome’s film for his work New York City Inferno (1978), which is a much darker flick that anticipates William Friedkin’s Cruising (1980) where a Frenchman heads to NYC to look for his boyfriend in the homo underworld and ultimately finds himself engulfed in an absurdly sleazy and scummy leather-fag Sodom. Of course, with his second and dramatically more ominous feature The Destroying Angel, De Rome demonstrated that he was just as proficient at cinematically defiling Poe as he was of Cocteau, but one would not expect anything less from the “grandfather of gay porn.”
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 9:56 PM
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