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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Erotique

Starring: Priscilla Barnes, Camilla Soeberg
Director: Clara Law
Rated: NC-17
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: January 1995
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Erotica, Gay/Lesbian, Romance

*Also starring: Marianne Sagebrecht, Bryan Cranston, Kamala Lopez, Peter Kern, Liane Alexandra Curtis

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

EROTIQUE (not to be confused with EXOTICA which was released in the US at the same time) is three unconnected erotic short stories. They are by three different female directors who give their version of a sexual fantasy from the woman's point of view.

Let me warn everyone up front that this is a correctly rated NC-17 show that has wall-to-wall sex. The meantime between sex in this show is maybe three minutes. At the end of the review I want to discuss the demographics of the audience when I saw it. You can stop for a second and speculate now if you like before reading further.

The first segment is set in LA and is entitled "Let's Talk About Sex." It is the story of a woman (Kamala Lopez-Dawson) who works at one of those sex phone numbers. She has two problems. First, she wants to get a job as a real actress but can not get people to hire her. Second, she wants to talk to the callers her fantasy and not theirs so callers keep hanging up on her and this keeps almost getting her fired.

The director of this segment is Lizzie Borden. She also directed the excellent WORKING GIRLS (1986). WORKING GIRLS is a documentary style fictional film about prostitutes. I think it is a *** movie as it portrays a tragically sad but realistic view behind the scenes of a world few will ever see. In EROTIQUE, Borden does the only good directing job, but her segment is still pretty boring in parts. The script (Lizzie Borden and Susie Bright) has some funny dialog, but mainly is lacking any real development.

The second segment happens in Hamburg and is called "Taboo Parlor." It stars Priscilla Barnes and Camilla Soeberg as two lesbians who decide, for the sake of variety, to find a man for a one-night stand. It is written and directed very poorly by Monika Treut. Other than a funny bus scene there is little to recommend it.

The final story is entitled "Wonton Soup" and is set in a gray and dim Hong Kong. Most of the action takes place in an expensive, but spartan apartment with almost no furniture. The director is Clara Law. It has Tim Lounibos and Hayley Man as young lovers. Tim makes the mistake of trying to spice up his love life by reading one of those 101 possibilities books. The scene where he tries to practice his new book learning is the funniest scene in the entire show and the only good scene in the most boring of the three stories. The script by Eddie Ling-Ching Fong is minimalist.

The acting is pretty amateur. Kamala Lopez-Dawson was the only really polished actor. For a movie about eroticism, I was surprised to find only the love making performance by Hayley Man to have any real passion.

Now for the demographics of the audience. I saw the show at a local art house that I go to a lot. I have never noticed any particular groups in attendance. It usually has a cross section of the local community. Tonight was different.

There were a few singles of both sexes and a few couples in the 20s-40s range there. Most of the theater, however, was filled with couples and single sex groups of quite senior citizens (70+). They did not come in together as any large group nor did the groups seem to know each other. I half expected them all to leave when the title came on declaring that they went in the wrong door, but they all stayed and listened attentively. Go figure.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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