Sunday, November 26, 2006

Delta of Venus (1995) NC-17

In Delta of Venus, Elene, played by Audie England, is on a quest to watch and document erotic adventures. There are three very erotic scenes in this excellent film by Zalman King. Elene is asked to pose nude for an art class. Her body is positioned in full contact with a male model. She is asked for hours not to move as the students paint. However, we hear her thoughts and her mind is anything but still. In a second scene, Elene seeks out a prostitute known for her erotic appetite and her "sexual knowledge." The women after some negotiation hides Elene in a closet where she can watch her receive passionate sex under the hypnotic spell of an African King. In a third scene, Elene is invited to a sex party in the house of a wealthy older couple. This couple plays a sex game where the wife wears only a blindfold and a necklace of pearls and has sex with a stranger the husband has picked up on the street. Furthermore, this all happens before a house full of strangers. These three scenes and the many other sexual scenes are very erotic, explicit and beautifully filmed.

You now have guessed correctly that the theme of this film is voyeurism. Zalman King, the producer of The Red Shoe Diaries erotic series, based this film on Anais Kin's novel of the same name. The story is set in Paris in the pre-war years of 1939. The streets are full of political, sexual and artistic passion. Elene is a struggling writer who falls in love with another writer Lawrence, played by Costas Mandyler. Lawrence pushes all the boundaries in a campaign for artistic expression. When he is called to war, he secretly hires Elene to write eroticism. The film is a story about Elene's quest to find content for her writings. Throughout the film, passages of Anais Kin's erotic verse from her novel move us from one scene to another. This film is about enjoying erotic pleasure three times: once during the event, twice by a writer capturing the event for others and third by a reader enjoying the erotic descriptions. A gift that keeps on giving.

This film has well deserved its positive reviews. The photography is rich and the costumes are beautiful. Audie England is subtle and sexy in her excellent portrayal of a woman exploring sexual boundaries. I loved a scene where she licks the fingers of her lover and states, "I so enjoy tasting me." Though filmed in Prague it has the real life feel of pre-war Paris. The music is beautiful. I searched unsuccessfully for a sound track of the film. I settled for a DVD copy as much for the musical score as the eroticism. This is a film I strongly recommend.