Immoral Tales (1974) | Is it time to re-evaluate the scandalous erotic quartet by ‘Arty pornographer’ Walerian Borowczyk?
In Walerian Borowczyk’s Immoral Tales (aka Contes immoraux), four historic episodes explore taboos surrounding cosmic fellatio, female masturbation, bloodlust and papal incest. In The Tide (La Marée), a youth (Fabrice Luchini) and his cousin (Lise Danvers) are caught on a secluded beach by the rising tide; in Thérèse Philosophe, a young woman (Charlotte Alexandra) explores erotic possibilities with antique objects. Erzsébet Báthory deals with the legendary Hungarian Countess (Paloma Picasso), who discovers she can preserve her youth by bathing in virgin blood, and Lucrezia Borgia explores the infamous Italian noblewoman’s (Florence Bellamy) incestuous desires for her brother and her father, the Pope.
This cavalcade of depravity originally comprised of five tales until director Walerian Borowyzck decided to expand one of the stories into his next feature, The Beast (La Bête). Immoral Tales was a box office smash in France, but came under fire from censors around the world. Along with the director’s vintage erotica short A Private Collection (included in two versions in this release), this anthology scandalised film festival audiences and earned Borowyzck the label of ‘arty pornographer’ for the rest of his life. It’s debatable whether the film does cross the line, but if this is porn, then its the most artstic you will ever see as its executed with such careful attention to mood, texture and detail. However, after watching the original short of La Bête (also is included here), you might just find yourself in need of a dry towel.
THE UK DUAL FORMAT RELEASE
This 2k high-definition restoration by Argos Films is released on Blu-ray with English subtitles for the first time by Arrow Films (as part of their dual format release). The film is presented in two versions: the familiar four-part edition, and the original five-part conception, including the short film version of La Bête, and with the following elements.
• New high definition digital transfers of the feature and the shorts, with uncompressed mono 2.0 PCM audio and optional English subtitles
• Introduction by Borowczyk expert Daniel Bird (2014)
• Immoral Tales: L’Age d’Or Cut (1974) This is the original five part version.
• Love Reveals Itself: Making Immoral Tales, featuring production manager Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin and cinematographer Noël Véry (2014)
• Boro Brunch, a reunion meal recorded in February 2014 reuniting members of Borowczyk’s crew
• A Private Collection (1973), presented in the commercially released version, plus the more explicit ‘Oberhausen’ cut
• Original trailer
Posted on September 23, 2014, in Avant Garde, Cult classic, Must-See, World Cinema and tagged A Private Collection, ARROW ACADEMY, Arrow Films, Contes immoraux, Immoral Tales, Paloma Picasso, The Beast (La Bête), Walerian Borowczyk, World Cinema. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.