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Gemidos de Placer

Cries of Pleasure

Spain 1983
produced by
Golden Films Internacional
directed by Jess Franco
starring Lina Romay, Rocío Freixas, Robert Foster (= Antonio Mayans), Jasmina Bell (= Elisa Vela), Juan Cózar (= Juan Soler)
screenplay by Jess Franco, based on the novel La Philosophie dans le Boudoir by Marquis de Sade, music by Pablo Villa (= Daniel J. White)

Jess Franco's Marquis de Sade-adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The film begins with a dead man, Antonio (Antonio Mayans) swimming in a pool, while his servant, the retarded Fenul (Juan Soler) plays the guitar sitting next to it.

Flashback to the previous day: Antonio brings home his friend Julia (Lina Romay), with whom he has a sexual relationship, much to the dismay of his maid Marta (Roxío Freixas), with whom he has a sexual relationship as well. Tensions are quickly relieved when the women get very friendly with each other. Then Antonio's wife Martina (Elisa Vela) returns home from a mental institution, where she was treated for nymphomania and schizophrenia. From what it looks like though, they didn't find a handle for her nymphomania, as she soon engages in threeway sex with her husband and Julia. After that, she retreats with Julia while her husband visits Marta in her room, to fuck her. All of a sudden, Martina and Julia show up again, and Martina brutally stabs Marta to death. Judging from her husband's lack of reatcion, this must have happened more often, and indeed, he and Martina always did get a kick from killing people, and now they invite Julia to take part in their perversions. Julia agrees all to willingly, but you have to understand here that Julia has actually conspired with Antonio to kill Martina. Then though, during sex, Martina and Julia actually strangle Antonio to death. Then they have sex right next to his dead body. Thing is, Martina and Julia have actually met in the mental institution and conspired to kill Antonio for years. They have been lovers all these time, but Martina always felt Antonio was holding her back.

In the end, they leave relieved, leaving retarded Fenul to take care of the body, like he has disposed of so many bodies from Martina's sexual games before that one.

 

Plotwise, Gemidos de Placer might not have too much to offer, it's basically a stroll through many of the Marquis de Sade's favourite topics while showing beautiful women in the nude and in (softcore) sex scenes as frequently as possible. But this isn't a narrative film in the traditional sense, rather a mood piece that takes a poetic approach to De Sade and sex. And director Jess Franco proves to be at the top of his game: His rich cinematic language full of unusual camera angles, floating camera movements and attention to unusual details, coupled with his deep understanding of architecture as a narrative device and an eye for landscapes and locations create a weird, dreamlike atmosphere and make this a beautiful perverse poem - and one of his most fascinating films.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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