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Germany, 1997 (MIFF 1998, Exotic Erotic)

Director: Monika Treut

Don Juan '67, an obscure Mexican sex and espionage film. A bird's-eye crane shot of Eva Norvind, dressed in matching pop art checked mini and shades roars through the streets in a Cadillac convertible, also in complementary checks, makes for a bizarre and fascinating image. Bizarre and fascinating applies to Norvind's entire life. Born to Russian royalty, Eva shucked off her aristocratic upbringing in her teens to run off to Paris and Quebec to work as a showgirl. Soon after she arrived in Mexico and become a notorious and controversial screen star. 'The Mexican Marilyn', a high-class call girl and mistress of highly-placed government officials - all before her 21st birthday!

This life proved a little too slow so Eva became a smuggler, adventuress (admitting to seducing an Indian named Jesus, in a church, during an anthropological expedition), pioneering free love advocate, photographer, filmmaker and dominatrix! Utilising footage from her colourful past, her films, family archives and alarmingly frank discussion with relatives and friends, director Monika Treut reconstructs the life of a remarkable woman possessed of an indomitable spirit and a hunger for exploration and excitement that would prove fatal to a lesser mortal.

Now well into middle-age, Norvind runs an exclusive parlour catering to select wealthy fetishists who can afford her brand (pardon the pun) of extreme S&M play, while studying criminal psychology and law. An utterly engrossing documentary - the sensitive should be warned that the film features extremely explicit footage of sexual practices, and fashions, that may disturb some viewers.

Monika Treut was born in Mönchengladbach, 1954, and attained a doctorate in Literarture in 1982. She has been working in video since 1976, concentrating chiefly on works dealing with feminism, sexuality and gender. Treut's previous works include Bondage (1983), My Father is Coming (1991), Female Misbehaviour (1992) and Let's Talk About Sex (1994).

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