Cecilia

Cecilia

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Cecilia’s original title was the much more prescriptive Sexual Abberations of a Housewife, which naturally led the promotions department of DVD distributor Blue Underground to slap a tagline on the back of the box recasting the entire film as recounting the travails of a “desperate housewife” (at least one season too late, at that). Crass, but Cecilia isn’t that far removed from the world of the nighttime soap. To be more specific, the film’s cloddish flashbacks, hastily photographed second-unit footage in glamorous European urban hubs, and obsessive attentiveness to the way satin gowns cling to women’s thighs all feel a tad like a cheap, horny knock-off of Dynasty. Cecilia’s journey begins with a lightly De Sadean flourish: The hired help picks her up in a limo, makes as though he’s going to drive her home, lets her taunt him with her nakedness before swerving and picking up his cousins. The three of them ravage her in a grunting, vengeful act of what could be class-minded revolt. It would be, that is, if she didn’t realize her wilted womanly bloom suddenly yearned for her husband’s love injection all the more in its aftermath. The two come to a relatively swift decision to live as libertines in order that their stalling marriage might flourish. Apparently, the dismissal of monogamy makes them only want it more, sort of like if you have Kraft macaroni on cheese on Tuesday, the mere thought of having it again on Wednesday sends your body into convulsive heaves. While this premise has broadened both horizons and fleshly orifices in any number of other movies, Jesús Franco’s flaccid direction just about kills the mood at every turn. Any residual thrust the misadventures of two fumbling sluts-in-law might have had on a mere situational level gets cold-showered by Daniel White’s demonstratively delicate keyboard diddles. Picture yours or someone else’s grandfather showing off at a Hammond on display at a Schmitt Music store, obsequiously pulling every stop and leaning on and off the volume pedal for dramatic effect. I wasn’t even 20 minutes into the movie and I wanted to pay White a quarter just to make him stop playing. Reversing the carnality of the opening scene, Cecilia sets out to prove that sex is reserved for the rich, those who can wander naked among the overripe green leaves of their immense estates. Fine, but it also means that the rich have the market cornered on bad sex.

Image/Sound

The soft focus lens never looked quite so harsh. The color contrast of this "remastered from the original camera negative" transfer is completely blown out, the print is grainy, there’s edge enhancement, tons of debris (especially in the mutilated opening credits).it’s sort of a shame that it doesn’t add some grindhouse credibility to this entirely too tasteful entry in Jesús Franco’s body of work. As for the sound, I wish I could offer some detail, but White’s department-store score made the mute button the only truly acceptable option.

Extras

A theatrical trailer which captures the film’s early ’80s "last gasp of theatrical porn" aura and does it in a mere three minutes, accompanied by a 20-minute interview with Franco in which he declares either the film or its original title "too long and too stupid." Either way, he’s right.

Overall

Today’s episode of softcore melodrama has been brought to you by Pamprin, Love’s Baby Soft, and Diet Slice.

Image 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Sound 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Extras 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Overall 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Dual-Layer Disc
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • English 2.0 Mono
  • French 2.0 Mono
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • Interview with Jesús Franco
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Buy
    DVD
    Release Date
    January 29, 2008
    Distributor
    Blue Underground
    Runtime
    105 min
    Rating
    NR
    Year
    1983
    Director
    Jesús Franco
    Screenwriter
    Jesús Franco
    Cast
    Muriel Montossé, Olivier Mathot, Pierre Taylou, Anthony Foster, Richard Darbois, Christian Dragaux, France Jordan