La noche de los sexos abiertos ( Jess Franco, 1983)

La noche de los sexos abiertos (1983).mkv_snapshot_00.55.57_[2015.07.05_16.06.16]

Welcome to the sleepy, vague, lurid and confusing universe of Jess Franco’s 1980s Spanish productions.

Not enough has been written about La Noche de Los Sexos Abiertos online.

Shot, like the rest Golden Films Productions, in Techniscope with the Canary Islands as a suitably lush backdrop, La Noche de Los Sexos Abiertos is very representative of Franco’s style at the time. Extreme closeups of unshaven genitals, seaside panoramas,misogynistic violence, amusing dialogues, hard-boiled cinema tropes and crude comedy co-exist more or less peacefully in this extremely low-budget softcore crime film produced for Spain’s then-burgeoning  erotic film market.

La noche de los sexos abiertos (1983).mkv_snapshot_00.53.03_[2015.07.05_16.04.21]

The film’s strange title (Night of the Open Sexes) refers to a secret code which a mustachioed P.I. Al Crosby (played by the excellent Antonio Mayans) is trying to crack with the aid of a nymphomaniac stripper (Jess Franco muse and erotic cinema legend Lina Romay) in an attempt to uncover a stash of Nazi gold. The Third Reich treasures would also feature as a McGuffin in Jess Franco’s better-known and much-criticized Eurociné production, Oasis of the Zombies (1982). Antonio Mayans is great as the sleazy, unscrupulous private eye, a role he would reprise numerous times for Jess Franco, including his very last features, Al Pereira vs. The Alligator Ladies and Revenge of the Alligator Ladies. Bit part actor Albino Graziani of whom little is known and whose filmography is limited almost exclusively to Jess Franco films, plays the dying general who Lina Romay tricks into disclosing the whereabouts of the treasure. Jess Franco himself appears in an amusing cameo as a tied and gagged proprietor of a villa where the protagonists shack up while trying to crack the code.

La noche de los sexos abiertos (1983).mkv_snapshot_01.17.35_[2015.07.05_18.39.29]

With very little information available on La Noche de Los Sexos Abiertos online, it is helpful to view the film in the context of other ‘Golden Films Internacional s.a.’ productions made by Jess Franco around the time. Granted miniscule budgets and skeleton crews, Jess Franco would turn out around twenty feature films between 1982 and 1986 , known as his Golden Films period. Characterized by languid pacing, limited casts and competent, if somewhat subdued camerawork,Golden Films productions have not yet been embraced by Jess Franco fans at large for a number of reasons. Small-scale, and very slow-paced when compared to Franco’s celebrated early ’70s works, these low-budget gems had for a long time been unavailable in English friendly editions.

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The situation has changed somewhat thanks to Severin Films’ excellent presentations of some of the key titles from the period, including La Mansión de los Muertos Vivientes and Macumba Sexual. These top-quality releases revealed the astonishingly beautiful imagery Jess was able to capture when allowed to do his thing unburdened from ‘name’ actors and without pressure from the backers. Hypnotic, minimalist imagery in Mil Sexos Tiene La Noche (in need of an English-subtitled release) or La Mansión de los Muertos Vivientes belongs to the finest achievements of the often misjudged filmmaker. Criticized for their lack of substance and reliance on protracted scenes of simulated sex, Golden Films productions may be too mild and dull for those craving gory, titillating Eurotrash. Often co-starring Lina Romay (as Candy Coster) and Antonio Mayans (Robert Foster), some of these marginal works function as remakes or follow-ups to Franco films of the previous decades: the excellent El Siniestro Doctor Orloff is one of the most original installments in the long-running Dr. Orlof series, Macumba Sexual follows the basic plot of the cult favourite Vampyros Lesbos, while Eugenié (Historia de una perversión) is yet another stab at De Sade´s Philosophy in the Boudoir. Erratic zooms, out-of-focus shots, and uncertain pans which are so characteristic of Franco’s smaller-scale productions are all but absent here, with very carefully executed compositions, expert use of natural light and predominantly static camerawork. Actors Albino Graziani and Tony Skios (Antonio Rebollo) show up almost invariably in the Golden Films productions. Mixing crude humour, rudimentary special effects, static camerawork and often steeped in profound melancholy, Golden Films represent perhaps the most challenging and least explored chapter in Jess Franco’s mammoth filmography.

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