Just Jaeckin – Histoire d’O AKA The Story of O (1975)
Unfortunately, the world of erotic cinema is quite often left behind as the bastardized stepchild of pornography. As long as they’ve been making films, they’ve been making erotic films. Films intended to stimulate or excite the viewer but at the same time, films that are a very important part of cinematic history, and are not to be discounted. They’re not all winners, but there certainly are some diamonds in the rough to be found. Real films with real characters and real stories to be told… not just sex for the sake of sex and more often than not little to no hardcore elements. One of the true classics of erotic cinema has finally surfaced on domestic DVD, The Story of O… let’s take a look.
The title character is only known as “O” (played by the lovely and talented Corinne Clery) and the story revolves around “O” being brought to a chateau of debauchery by her lover played by Udo Kier. It is here that “O’s” love and devotion (as well as endurance) to her lover will be put to the test as she will be ravished, whipped and sexually tortured by many a man, as they may take her as they please. It’s once “O” leaves the confines of the fantasy chateau (and returns to her gig as a fashion photographer), things start to get really out of hand. The borrowing of “O” did not end when she left the chateau, as the sexual misadventures will go on. The question is where does “O’s” devotion lie? Is she really testing her devotion to her lover by experiencing these sexual escapades or is she looking for an excuse to attain the sampler platter? Will “O’s” devotion for her lover remain or will she fall in and out of love with others? Worst of all, will she lose her faith in men altogether when she finally realizes that she may have just been used as an object all along? All of these questions and more will be answered by the time the end credits roll, you won’t find the solution here (that would be the easy way out).
What makes “O” different from your standard late night “Skinemax” fare or more importantly hardcore pornography? The answer lies within the films seriousness and classy execution. I mean sure, there’s plenty of nudity and sexual situations, but it’s never overly excessive and most importantly it’s an imperative piece to the puzzle that is The Story of O. Like many of the erotic films of the time (films by Franco, Rollin or Metzger to name a few) The Story of O, to put it bluntly is not purely crank material, there’s much more going on here than just an aid for manual stimulation. This is a beautifully shot and executed film, one that’s certainly not to be missed.
Piece together incredible sets and atmospheric locations, intricate costumes a smart script and sympathetic (well acted) characters and you’ll start to get the idea of what makes a film like The Story of O so special. These elements allow The Story of O to transcend the normal output of a skin flick, a virtue that seems to have been almost lost when it comes to erotic films of today. This is a flick that isn’t dank or dirty, not in the least. If anything, The Story of O is a shining example of just how good erotic cinema can be.
Lawrence P. Raffel @ Monsters at Play
Language(s):French, English, Polish
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