15 Short Films

20 Years before the rise of 1970’s hardcore films in the U.S., the commercial pornography produced by the French unleashed a new era of Erotic Cinema.
Suddenly, unlike the common “stag” films of the time, scripts, multiple camera angles, and title credits were introduced into erotic productions.
These extended 15-minute films were intended for private viewing in the back rooms of stores, in homes, and at local brothels. The themes of many of these films were bondage and burlesque; images similar to those produced by Irving Klaw in the U.S. The main difference being that in France the filmmakers would show on-camera sex, and nudity. These films stand out, not only for being ahead of their time, but because they transcend the standards of much of what is being produced today.
Twenty years before the rise of hardcore films in the U.S., the commercial pornography produced in France unleashed a new era in erotic cinema. These 15-minute films were intended for private viewing; but unlike the “stag” films of the time, scripts and multiple camera angles were introduced. Many of these films had “bondage and burlesque” themes similar to the U.S. movies of Irving Klaw — but in France, the filmmakers would show on-camera nudity, and even sex. These films stand out now, not only for being ahead of their time, but because they transcend the standards of much of what’s being produced today.

Volume 3 in Cult Epic’s French erotica series showcases the post-War era, including some of its technological wonders, and affordable equipment for the fidgety Phyllises. As “Anno 1950” reveals, Sneaky Pete’s grasp of technology didn’t just embrace the moving film camera, but all forms of mechanical devices that could be adopted into smaller, more personalized gizmos for the lonely ladies looking for good vibrations.
A case in point is “Women On Their Own,” the first erotic film that kick starts the collection with an adventurous lady and a pneumatic aid (with an unfaltering rhythm). The high-powered close-up lens also gets a test run by a retentive manicurist, and a proboscis aid makes an early film appearance during an era when British and North American couples were still seen sleeping in separate beds (according to mainstream flickers).
It’s an amusing, sometimes shocking collection that alternates between graphic sexual episodes, more traditional vignettes (naked girl bathing by a windy brook), and classic burlesque stripteases (low on nudity, high on leopard patterns, Ali Baba costumes, whirring tassles, swinging hips, jiggling chests, and all-around zip-boom-bah.)
The familiarity of the collection’s images is what’s most surprising; it’s akin to reading ancient Roman graffiti that reveals the naughty, wayward thoughts of another generation, barely differing from those of the present. Besides being in black & white, the execution, montage construction, and payoff of these films are identical to contemporary erotica. (Cheesy music is what’s lacking, but original underscoring didn’t really come into fashion until the next decade.) With the exception of three burlesque shorts, all of the films are silent, and can be viewed with optional projection noise. It sounds like an odd choice, but the sound effects actually transforms the big screen TV into a humble 16mm film screen; all that’s lacking are wayward guests, smoke, and vino.

Included in this collection are 15 shorts: “Women On Their Own” (16:07), “Smooth Shaving” (14:01), “Attachment” (11:03), “Woman in the Portrait” (13:33), “The Topless Dancer” (2:15), “Pastoral Pleasures” (6:20), “Untitled” (1:01), “After-Sales Service” (8:24), “Untitled” (1:01), “Peeping Tom” (9:05), “Untitled” (1:23), “Rendez-Vous” (8:34), “The Thief in Jail” (7:23), “Untitled” (2:13), and “Unfaithful Women” (6:43).

Language:Silent & Music

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