Camille 2000 Blu-ray Review
Directed by Radley Metzger
Written by Michael DeForrest and Alexandre Dumas fils (inspired by)
1969, Region B2, 131 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 11th February 2013
Daniele Gaulbert as Marguerite Gautier
Nino Castelnuovo as Armand Duval
Elanor Rossi Drago as Prudence
Roberto Bisacco as Gastion
Massimo Serato as Armand's father
Silvana Venturelli as Olympe
Another jaunty foray into the world of 1970s erotica with filth favourite Radley Metzger. Camille 2000 is a little more subtle than his Score and Lickerish Quartet (also available through Arrow Video) but there's still plenty of characteristic wit, crudity and nudity.
Actually, that's not exactly true. Metzger's movies essentially may be glamourous skin flicks, but they're anything but crude. There's too much plot, for one thing. The perpetual film critic, the reason I don't watch pornography is the lack of story and production values. Metzger's films offer filth for the thinking crowd. In Camille 2000, the beautiful, independent Marguerite meets and falls in love with smooth batchelor Armond. But as a woman 'kept' by a rich man and a host of sexy parties and massive orgies, she has trouble adjusting to Armond's demand for a monogamous relationship. The best scene in the film: Armond sending a message to Marguerite (“you are a whore! I was an idiot”) written in lipstick on another woman's naked back. It may not be as pronounced as in Score, but the cheeky sense of humour remains intact.
The pace is slower, the tone less light and amusing than Score, but Camille 2000 is still worth a watch, if you're a fan of period sexploitation. It's far better than the one star review it was infamously given by Roger Ebert upon its release (especially when you consider that he wrote the screenplay for Russ Meyer's cult Beyond the Valley of the Dolls). If it's less enjoyable than Score, then it's because it takes itself a little too seriously, and lacks actors with the talent of Lynn Lowry or Claire Wilbur. The guys and dolls of Camille 2000 do a good job, but it all appears to be a spectacle of style over substance. The sex takes ages to come (no pun intended) but when it does, it does. There's a great series of shots in which the camera focuses in and out on a flower, in time with Marguerite's sex breaths (the technical term) picking up pace as she gets more and more excited. There's nothing particularly explicit though (barely even a boob) so if you've come looking for hardcore penetration or Fifty Shades of S&M, you've probably come (shut up) to the wrong place.
If you want a flirty, fun story with some striking visuals though, Camille 2000 is great. Well composed and magnificent to look at, it has a lovely sense of style and set dressing. The film is great for fans of 1970s cinema, up there with The Frightened Woman (a little earlier, at the end of the sixties) as my favourite depiction of the rich and famous at the time. I have to wonder how comfortable those water beds and see-through sheets must be though. They look awfully flimsy.
Camille 2000 cements Metzger's status as a master of the genre. A sweary two fingers to those who say sexploiation or erotica can't be well-told or engaging, it's well worth your time.
Video and Audio:
As with the other Arrow Video re-releases, they've done a sterling job with these films. They look crisp and new, and perfectly aged, at the same time. The music is a treat too. The score that plays as Armond witnesses Marguerite hard at it with another man is just perfect. That's the sound of heartbreak, right there.
There's an audio commentary by Radley Metzger and Michael Bowen, a feature from On the Set of Camille 2000, a striptease and a love scene, a feature on the Blu-ray restoration, and some trailers.
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