Monday, July 18, 2011

The Elegance of being a "Kept" woman: CAMILLE 2000

CAMILLE 2000 (1969)
CULT EPICS - Blu Ray and DVD

Radley Metzger came to international prominence with his Danish lensed sexy potboiler I A WOMAN (1966), a movie that set the international stage for what for what was to be expected from a foreign soft core art film. But after this success he began to direct his own movies and a distinct sense of style emerged. American label CULT EPICS has begun to release some of his best and most renowned work on Blu Ray and DVD totally remastered and restored. The began with his hardcore bi-sexual epic SCORE and have followed with THE LICKERISH QUARTET (a review coming soon) and CAMILE 2000.

CAMILLE 2000 is an ode to the sad side of the playboy lifestyle popular in the swinging "Mod" England in the close of the Sixties. The young Armand (Nino Castelnuovo) comes to England to represent his businessman Father but is here really to get out his wild oats. He teams up with is pal Gastion (Roberto Bisacco) who soon introduces him to Marguerite Gautier (Danièle Gaubert) aka Camille called so because of the flower she carries with her everywhere. Armand is instantly smitten, even though it is explained to him she is a "kept" woman by the local Duke. Meaning she is more a or less his whore, whom he keeps in a high price lifestyle, with jewels, money, a house and a rather nasty drug habit. But Armand his a bull headed your sod, and puts himself into her crazy Mod lifestyle anyway. Soon he is partying at her house, hanging with her crazy dress designing friends, and before you know it, sleeping with her.

And wouldn't you know it, she falls for his boyish good looks, and charming uncomplicated ways. But being a kept woman, she can't continue to be his. Even though she continues to promise to. Many talks of trying to go away together happen and one attempt that almost works until Armand's vengeful Father steps into the fray. All this leads to a third act of the film that includes an S+M party, voyeurism, almost group sex, a card game straight out of CASINO ROYALE, and a truly tragic last reel that make this one of the most cynical love story/sex movies I have seen. All in all a good deal more thoughtful than these kinds of movies ever attempt to be. But then again would you expect less from Radley Metzger?

It really is the last third of the movie that makes this work, but discussing it too much is difficult without giving it away. Up until that point it is really just a beautifully photographed, but very lightweight sex romp. Though I cannot stress enough how gorgeous the movie is, from costumes, to set design to the cinematography nothing is being left to chance as to what is appearing on screen, making this more about images, tones, shapes and movement than even really about sex at all. It IS very sexy, but it really is not the kind of thing that will get you off. It sort of goes into other more deeply resonant sexual places in your id. But once there the movie goes into that last act and that deeply rooted cynicism about love and sex. Especially during that time period of the late sixties when all of that is supposed to be free. It never is, it always comes with a price.

The Blu Ray is 12 minutes longer than any known previous cut, and has copious extras:
•On the Set of Camille 2000
•Restoration of Camille 2000
•Sylviane's Bare Striptease
•Cube Love Scene
•Audio Commentary Track by Michael Bowen and Radley Metzger

There is also a separate disc of the THEATRICAL version if you simply MUST have the version that replicates what you saw theatrically. That discs has outtakes that include the 12 minutes that are included in the film in the longer print.

Review © Andrew Copp

This is a FAN MADE TRAILER on You tube. This is NOT on the DVD or BLU RAY. But is actually better than the actual theatrical trailer that is included...

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