jeudi 28 octobre 2010

Nazi Chic & the Dark Side of the Sexual Revolution

Fabio De Agostini´s Le lunghe notte della gestapo is a direct ersatz from Salon Kitty, as Mario Caiano´s La svastica nel ventre (Nazi Love Camp 27, 1976) which follows the Jewish Sirpa Lane who becomes the lover of the sado-masochist commandant of the camp and runs a SS brothel for him before receiving a gruesome final punishment. Some French co-productions for Eurociné followed in 1978 et 1979, pastiches like Fraulein Kitty or Alain Payet´s revision of Ilsa in Helga louve de Stillberg, Nathalie rescapée de l'enfer or Train spécial pour SS, that could be read, in the light of the collective amnesia that surrounds the trauma of Vichy and Collaboration, as illustrating the same ambiguous coming to terms with the past as happened with Italian porno-fascism. Then the infamous subgenre vanished as it had appeared, spreading its iconography in other media like the rock Nazi chic illustrated by Serge Gainsbourg’s Nazi rock, Iggy Pop’s My Nazi Girlfriend, punk Gestapo leather jackets or Nazi armbands (Sex Pistols, etc), already analyzed by D. Hebdige as pure signifiers “exploited for an empty effect” (Subculture: the Meaning of Style, Routledge, 1979, p. 117).

Symmetrical opposite of the women in cages, the women on rampage films presented also the dominatrix menace figure “catered to the masochistic male thirst to see women on top” , starting with the gang girls feminization of biker films –who already featured white slavery- (The cycle savages, 1969, Angels wild women, Al Adamson 1972 or Ted V. Mikels´ Doll’s Squad 1973 and the “ultra low-budget gem of girl gang sado-masochism” The Dirty Dolls from 1974) to western (5 Bloody Graves, 1969 or Western Ride a Wild Stud, 1969) and the mini-genre of Amazon films, evolved from Euro jungle films of the fifties (Warrior Queen or The Battle of the Amazons, both from 1973, presenting an “all-female society of sturdy women devoted to subjugating men”) that spawned in pre-historical fantasies like Creatures the World forgot (1971) while Mondo S&M exoticism derived in “cannibal sex”, haunted by a sense of a decaying colonial past against the background of Third World upheaval (U. Lenzi El Paese del Sesso selvagio 1972; Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali 1977, Blue Holocaust 1979).

In a sense, those thousand of films lovingly reviewed in Psychotronic Encyclopedia, Slimetime, Sleazoid Express or the myriad of WebPages devoted to them, constitute the dark side of the Seventies’ sexual revolution. This soft-core adults-only sexploitation S&M invasion was clearly opposed to mainstream erotic cinema with its emphasis on "free love" and sex as a means of self-discovery, designed to appeal to audiences of both sexes. It was also distinct, in its insistence on violence and cruelty, from the light-hearted approach of sexy comedies and from the sexual libertarianism of West Coast porn and its apologetic depiction of “utopian sexual plenitude”. Yet transitions between both hyper-genres were still numerous at the time. Thus, at the crossroads between soft and hard-porn S&M psychodramas like Raphael Nussbaum’s Pets (1974) captured the Bizarre iconography in film popularizing Eric Stanton’s or Bill Ward’s fantasies, inserting peep booth loops in loose narratives. On the other hand the emerging porno boom also cashed in the S&M undercurrent, from G. Damiano’s Story of Joanna (1975) to J. Davian’s House of De Sade (1975) or A. de Renzy Femmes de Sade (1975), often inspired by the blood sexy genre to the hardcore Avon films like Taming of Rebecca (1979) or Kneel Before Me (1983). The same directors went from one genre to the other, from Jess Franco to David Durston who drawed the same vivid connection between sex and violence that distinguishes I Drink Your Blood to a gay hardcore porn Boy-Napped (1975), subverting pornutopian naïveté from (no pun intended) the inside.

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