When you think of art house directors you probably think of some of the more famous filmmakers like Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God), Peter Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) or Alejandro Jodorowsky (Holy Mountain). Someone you may not know is French writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet. Robbe-Grillet was part of the “nouveau roman” novelist movement which diverted from the classical style of writing and deviated from the norm with experimental prose. The same could be said with his film Glissements progressifs du plaisir (literal translation is “Gradual shifts of pleasure”) aka Successive Slidings of Pleasure where he blends dreamlike visuals with eroticism and, oddly, nunsploitation.
The narrative follows a young woman after she is arrested and locked in a convent for murdering her female roommate and lover; she insists she is innocent. She blames the violent scissor stabbing on a black-gloved man (a nod to giallo maybe?) who somehow entered their apartment without their knowing. While she is imprisoned for the killing (and possibly being a witch!) and awaiting her trial, she is visited by and questioned by many people; the judge, a young nun, a priest, her attorney, et al… all of whom she sexually manipulates in what seems to be a game to her. She is mistreated, tortured and raped by her religious captures, or is she? Everything she says seems to be a lie to play the game which she seems to think she can win just by using her feminine whiles. It isn’t until the ironic ending that we see that sex can’t get you out of everything.
Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Successive Slidings of Pleasure is full of deep meaning, artistic symbolism and a little out of the blue silly humor. Oh, it is also jam-packed with nudity. Lots and lots of nudity, most of which is the nubile, raven-haired French honey Anicée Alvina. She is a young, European version of Liv Tyler; gorgeous face, full lips and a cute little crooked mouth. On top of that, she is a fantastic actress who plays the broken little hyper-sexual young woman to a tee. As I mentioned in the opening, the movie isn’t just art house poetry, it delves into the nunsploitation arena with some pretty sleazy scenes of dark, dank dungeons used to “punish” the bad little prisoner girls with whips, chains and a little hanky-panky with Sister Sexy-pants. The pace is deliberately slow as it methodically shows lots of bizarre imagery to create an atmosphere and dictate symbolism.
2.65 GiB | 1 h 48 min | 960×576 | mkv
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