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.
- 105 min
- Jesús Franco
- Jesús Franco
- Muriel Montossé, Olivier Mathot, Pierre Taylou, Anthony Foster, Richard Darbois, Christian Dragaux, France Jordan
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