HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Monday, October 26, 2009

ATTRACTION -- DVD review by porfle

attraction aka nerosubianco aka black on white (1969) is a story told in images and sounds about a woman wandering through her life unsatisfied, not knowing what she wants, she seems to be experiencing a sexual awakening, a growing awareness that's beginning to dawn on her as she observes the changing world around her, a new way of thinking and behaving that she's drawn to but afraid to embrace

stream of consciousness images in the park, on a city street, her mental musings merging with ambient voices and snippets of radio ads that are mostly sexual in nature, ads about sex aids and orgasms

freestyle editing of a cascade of images, a constant wave of visual impressions

a musical group seems to appear wherever she goes and sings about what she's seeing and feeling as she drifts through one montage of images and sounds after another

a handsome, mysterious young black man begins to fascinate her and she fantasizes about him, we see snippets of her fantasies, as he follows her, his civilized fascade, the wild man she imagines him to be chasing her naked through the forest

naked people boldly romp in public, and she imagines herself naked, shedding inhibitions

she ducks into a beauty salon and imagines the customers as cows, and her emotionless lover calling a doctor to treat her nonresponsiveness, and the doctor becomes the black man

she relaxes on a ferry and observes the lives of people in peephole-vision through their windows, surreal images that seem to be only in her mind, she smiles

she recalls watching television with her husband and he becomes so unresponsive as to grow as stiff and malleable as a doll

the boat ride becomes a heady experience as she drifts through fantasies of mechanical lovemaking with her lover becoming indistinguishable with repetitive fitness exercises while a woman's voice speaks of whether or not it's a sin to have orgasms while doing chin-ups, she pictures herself naked in a steamy spa that's like the misty recesses of her subconscious

she runs outside into the rain and the black man is there with an umbrella, she sees her lover at the door and shoots him with a toy gun, her lips and the black man's lips almost touch over the lover's body

she goes to a seaside amusement park and takes a ride through the love tunnel, but instead of fanciful things she sees real people with painted faces behaving impulsively, and the black man keeps appearing over and over, all very symbolic innit

her lover appears as a glowering priest and sternly announces that all prohibited scenes of nudity and lovemaking will now be replaced by acceptable scenes of violence and war, racial injustice and horror, and sure enough we're bombarded by a visual assault of shocking images that are like a splash of cold water in the face

she finds herself at an anti-war rally and the black man is there too, at the dawning of her political awareness--"now you see the people in another light, and it plays upon your brain" the singer sings

a wonderfully comic moment at a photo booth devolves into a clockwork orange-like nightmare, the woman begins to be overcome by her irrational fears as she is overwhelmed by the ugliness of the world around her

finally she returns to the park where it all started--will she take the next step? bite the apple? does she really even want to?

suddenly it occurs to me that i've pretty much described the entire movie scene by scene, suffice it to say that attraction is about a repressed and unfulfilled woman trying to find herself during a weird day filled with new experiences and sensations

attraction (originally released in the usa as a heavily-edited softcore sex flick retitled "the artful penetration of barbara") smashes 60s taboos all over the place and remains a fascinating and wildly experimental film experience from start to finish, with camerawork and editing and a sensibility not unlike that of the monkees' "head" except there's an actual story and it definitely isn't a comedy or as clumsily pretentious as this review

i like the actress (anita sanders) who plays the woman because she's beautiful and serenely expressive, while terry carter (the black man), needless to say has a million likability points already from being in stuff like "mccloud" with dennis weaver and the original "battlestar galactica"

each phase of the film is like a free-form late 60s acid-rock music video by freedom, a group consisting of the remnants of procol harum, and these guys are awesome

i want the soundtrack to this movie until i realize that the dvd itself is pretty much the soundtrack to this movie

i notice that this "cult epics" dvd release is an italy/uk co-production in 1.85:1 widescreen with dolby digital 2.0 sound, taken from film promoter radley metzger's rare 16mm print, and the dvd also features a lobby card gallery and trailers

i feel that attraction is, as they say "a trip", a cinematic carnival ride, an extended peek into a woman's psyche as she in turn observes us, a vivid waking dream by a wildly imaginative filmmaker (tinto brass), and i wouldn't be surprised if roger waters has seen it on acid at some point in his life and it blew his mind.

buy it at
buy it at hk flix

No comments: