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EROTIKON

Czechoslovakia, 1929 (MIFF 1995, Buried Treasures - Gustav Machaty)

Director: Gustav Machaty

A seldom seen silent gem, Erotikon is an earli­er work in the same lyrical quartet on love and eros as Gustav Machaty's more widely known Ecstasy. Though very different, its explicit­ly erotic theme and portrayal of a complex mod­ern heroine make it a definite forerunner and a truly groundbreaking film in the early history of erotic cinema.

As an adherent of Czech Modernism, the potency of Gustav Machaty's signature style had an immediate impact on audiences of the day and remains remarkably fresh even when viewed in the context of contemporary cinema.

Redrawing the parameters of acceptable screen sensuality with his liberating Modernist eye, he won both praise and condemnation, Erotikon offers a subtle and even sly analysis of male and female relationships. The film scrutinis­es the consequences of a night of unbridled pas­sion between a provincial station-master's daughter and a Prague playboy (who is forced to stay the night after missing his train), examined within the structures of a more-or-less conven­tional moral tale that pits country innocence against city decadence. Machaty's flair for stylised eroticism, and the heroine's insistent flaunting of sexual mores even after having been sent off to have her illegitimate child-she remains sympathetic throughout this saga of temptation downfall and redemption-suffuses the film with a tense confrontational sensuality.

See also...

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