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Contes Immoraux

Immoral Tales

France 1974
produced by
Anatole Dauman for Argos Films
directed by Walerian Borowczyk
starring Lise Danvers, Fabrice Luchini, Charlotte Alexandra, Paloma Picasso, Pascale Christophe, Florence Bellamy, Jacopo Berinizi, Lorenzo Berinizi, Philippe Desboeuf, Nicole Karen, Tomas Hnevsa, Mathieu Rivolier, Robert Capia, Gerard Tcherka, Kjell Gustavsson
written by Walerian Borowczyk, story for sement The Tide by André Pieyre de Mandiargues, music by Maurice Leroux, production design by Walerian Borowczyk

Elizabeth Bathory

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Four tales about eroticism - and the joys and misfortunes that come with it - through the ages:

  • The Tide: Being 20 and thus four years older than his cousin Julie (Lise Danvers), that gives André (Fabrice Luchini) authority over her, and thus when he lures her out onto a strip of beach cut off from the main land at high tide, she follows him no questions asked, and satisfies him orally when they indeed are cut off because he asks her to. But his motives are of more than just a sexual manner ...
  • Thérèse Philosophe: Just because she has come later than told, young Thérèse (Charlotte Alexandra) is locked into her room for the rest of the day, even though being in church has delayed her to begin with. But she's at an age when she starts to feel her own sexuality, and pretty much everything in her room turns her on without end ...
  • Erzsebet Bathory: Countess Bathory (Paloma Picasso) collects pretty young girls, preferably virgins in every village she passes through ... to pamper them, let them shower in her mansion, let them prance around the premises in the nude, to heat them up sexually - just to then mingle with them and get them to murder one another and then bathe in their blood for eternal youth. But the Countess has a betrayer (Pascale Christophe) in her own ranks who eventually costs her her life ...
  • Lucrezia Borgia: For a life of unspeakable wealth and debauchery with her brother Cesare (Lorenzo Berinizi) and her father the Pope (Jacopo Berinizi), Lucreza Borgia (Florence Bellamy) is even willing to sacrifice her own lover, a man of high moral standards ...

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Above all else, Immoral Tales is a film that looks and feels incredibly beautiful and sensual: Without being over-the-top or in-your-face, the set designs (by director Borowczyk himself) invariably underline the mood of the respective scenes, the camera paints incredibly beautiful pictures that nevertheless help the story rather than be there for their own sake, the film's relaxed pace is just right to stimulate the audience to just the right level, and while the nudity is indeed copious, it somehow never seems gratuitous, and the sex finds the right balance between showing everything and alluding to it to keep things interesting and avoiding the audience to feel cheated. Plus, the girls are uniformly not only great lookers, they also look their respective parts and their performaces are at least adequate.

Now sure one might say that, with the possible exception of The Tide, the stories the film tries to tell are rather feeble and sex-centered - and one would be right about this even - but in all stories (including The Tide) eroticism is the story's core, so in that respect, the point is moot. Of course, if one wants to see a film about, well, sex, is left to anybody's own judgment - but my guess is whoever-it-is will be turned on by the film regardless of preconceived opinion!!!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD