Friday, 18 April 2014

What’s so funny? Laugh Clown Laugh (1928)

There’s a shocking moment in this film when Lon Chaney’s character is tenderly holding his adopted daughter, played by Loretta Young, and kissing her on the shoulder in the way that dads do. Suddenly he realises that this is no longer a child and, in an instant his eyes widen in horror as he realises that his feelings have shifted in an altogether less paternal direction. You only see Chaney’s eyes and that’s all you need for one of the most controlled and expressive actors of the age.

The unease he feels is shared by the viewer though as you realise that Young was only fourteen at the time of filming: Pickford in reverse in the most shocking context. By all accounts the 45-year old Chaney looked after Young protecting her from the bullying of director Herbert Brenon but this is surely amongst the worst casting decisions ever made. Young does well and times were different: this was only play-acting but… really?

Chaney, needless to say, gives a typically committed performance and surely not even Emile Jannings could convey the level of sincerity required to play such a sad clown. It’s the ultimate juxtaposition and you have to really be broken hearted to carry this off – otherwise you’re just another hollow Grimaldi.

The plot owes something to La Roue (no doubt others) and was based on the successful play that had wowed Broadway in 1924 with Lionel Barrymore who may or may not have been lined up to reprise his role on screen.  Chaney plays Tito alias Flik one half of a travelling duo of clowns with partner, you guessed it, Flak (Bernard Siegel) also known as Simon.

Bernard Siegel
Tito finds an abandoned child, an unwanted girl tied to a tree near a river. Heart-rendered he resolves to keep her much to his co-clown’d chagrin even after naming the child Simonetta in his honour. As you can imagine there’s pathos a plenty but there’s something real about these jesters with Chaney and Siegel’s attention to detail winning you over.

Chaney had already played a clown in Sjostrom’s He Who Gets Slapped (1924) and required little prompting to immerse himself in the study of the ephemera, discipline and make-up of the profession.

The film fast-forwards a dozen years and we see Tito’s glowing pride as Simonetta learns how to walk the wire. She has grown up into young Loretta Young and she is exceptionally pretty (fast-talking pre-code success was mere years away).

Simonetta becomes part of the act and helps the boys to greater success. She is also spotted by Count Luigi Ravelli (Nils Asther) who is immediately captivated and rushes her and her injured foot to his bedroom… The young girl is shooed off by the Count’s mother (Cissy Fitzgerald) who – perhaps – senses that she’s a little young for him.

Then the moment happens when Tito feels that inappropriate affection and is driven into a deep well of conflicted emotions. A psychiatrist suggests that what he needs is to go and see the funniest clown in Italy, but Tito can’t: he is that clown.

The Count spots Simonetta caught in his fence: metaphor intentional...
At the same therapist we find the Count who as a result of a surfeit of bohemian excess is given to bouts of hysterics – he can’t stop laughing. Count meets Clown and they both decide they’ll be good for one another – perhaps their humours will meet in the middle.

Their friendship grows and gradually equilibrium is established for the odd couple but it’s a fragile triangle as the Count is increasingly in love with Simonetta and her besotted step-father knows it.

The Flik, Flak and Simonetta act has grown so successful that they now have theatre residence in Rome and they play to packed houses, as her grace allows the clowns to act the fools in love – of course all clowns are romantic failures, what else makes them so sad?

But there’s also daring do as Flick flies down from on high with just his head balanced on a wire attached up near the gods… Clowns live dangerously.

No spoilers… The Count proposes to Simonetta and relations are stretched to the limit as the plot delivers twists and tumbles you’d expect from Flik.

Young acts well beyond her years which seemed to be her speciality – she married Grant Withers aged 17 in 1930 and was a teen star of pre-code films such as Show Girl in Hollywood and The Truth About Youth. She was only 20 making Born to be Bad and showing up a rather wooden Cary Grant with her ferocious performance as the mother who refuses to let her seven-year old son go into his care.

Nils Asther has extraordinary screen presence as well: a believably vulnerable romantic lead who is also rather unsettling as the man who can’t stop laughing.

But it’s Chaney’s show and you can only marvel at the controlled expression: a face that can make you smile one second and uncomfortable the next. When the breaks come off and Flik takes his misery onto the stage it’s a special effect all on its own.

Laugh, Clown, Laugh is on the TCM Archives - The Lon Chaney Collection which is available from Amazon and other good online retailers.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

She’s the love of your life… Why Change Your Wife? (1920) w Niki King Band, BFI BEV

A Cecil B DeMille romantic comedy might not seem an obvious choice for the second in the series of the Birds Eye View Film Festival Sounds and Silents. The strand celebrates women in film and in jazz playing along with film and, rightly or wrongly, DeMille is perhaps more thought of as an exploiter rather than promoter of women.  But as the programme notes pointed out there were a number of key female collaborators for Mr DeMille beyond the two master comics we saw on screen (more on Bebe and Gloria in a mo’…).

Anne Bauchens edited all of his films for over forty years and here, as in his other silents, her expertise is evident in smooth transitions and state of the art story pacing. The stunning gowns were designed by Natasha Rambova who went on to work on Nazimova’s Salome – and her fashions are very much the co-star of this film – as my wife said: if only it was in colour!

Bebe Daniels and Gloria Swanson
The script was written by Sada Louise Cowan and Olga Printzlau, for-knowledge of which helps to off-set any modern sexual-political misgivings to an extent with their witty script detailing how the marriage contract can make the heart go duller… if both parties are not careful.

Gloria Swanson’s star power tends to further shift any un-even-handedness: she’s the story fulcrum and the character we care most about and events tend to unfold at her pace. Why change your wife? She’s Gloria Swanson you fool!

As if that wasn’t enough, the alpha male DeMille’s work was further feminized by the live score provided by British jazz ace Niki King who’s cleverly composed song-track gave sympathetic voice to Swanson in particular. We knew who Niki was rooting for!

Aided by a band on organ, harp, double bass and drums, Ms King’s music made this one of the most syncopated and swinging silent evenings I’ve enjoyed at the BFI reflecting and reinforcing the relentless pace of the film. Maybe jazz is getting like Shakespeare? You need to be an exceptionally fluent player to really make it ring true to modern ears: the form is “old” but the meaning, the message and the passion is timeless. Niki King achieved this and in doing so helped to un-wrap a very fresh silent film for the audience.

Bebe Daniels and Thomas Meighan say cheers!
Why Change Your Wife? was one of a series of sex-comedies DeMille made around the turn of the twenties and it dealt with marriage in a very swinging, pre-code way… he always did get away with what he could in this area of human fantasy.

Gloria Swanson is Mrs Beth Gordon who is all too comfortably married to husband Robert (Thomas Meighan). They’re inability to co-ordinate their morning bathroom routines reflect their divergent cultural and personal interests. Beth throws herself into middle-brow improving books and listens to serious classical music whilst Bob just wants to tango and to go to the follies… there’s a slight gender inversion here: he’s the jazz baby?!

Bob gets with the beat
Robert decides to spice things up and goes to buy some racy evening wear for his wife. The clothes are modelled by young Sally Clark (Bebe Daniels) who has longed to run her fingers through his masculine curly hair since she was a teen. She makes a play by sexing up the clothes, draping them as low as she can and adding a pint of perfume and a heart to her bare shoulder… it doesn’t go un-noticed.

I’d always associated Daniels with talkies – especially 42nd Street – but was surprised to find that she’d been an early comedy partner for Harold Lloyd in a number of his post-war shorts. That experience certainly holds her in good stead here and she is a match for Swanson in looks and timing: a comedy cat-fight is guaranteed.

Beth doesn’t like the clothes… why should she be forced into revealing her body just for male gratification? She stays at home to listen to her favourite violinist Radinioff (Theodore Kosloff) leaving Robert with no one to go to the show with… Sally’s arrival with a missing part of the dress prompts him to extend the invitation.

Sally and Robert enjoy the show and back at her flat – blimey they moved quickly in 1920 – Robert find out that they share the same record collection and interests (dancing… kissing…). It’s a late night and by the time he gets home it’s nearly two o’clock and, waking Beth up, she quickly rumbles him and divorce is immediately on the cards.

Robert steps over the mark...
So far so rom-com and so it goes as the marital twists and turns involving the lead characters follow their course as Beth decides that maybe she should show off more of her assets whilst new wife Sally even gets tangled up with the surprisingly butch Radinioff as emotional loyalties ebb and flow… towards a conclusion I won’t give away.

Why Change Your Wife? – supercharged by Niki King’s music – felt fresh, smart and knowing… these are very modern concerns handled with a smooth economy. Bebe Daniels’ naturalistic and expressive timing threatens to steal the show but Gloria Swanson is that perfect silent powerhouse and even over-matched in stature and looks your eyes are inevitably drawn to her intensity and direct communication. Someone who “spoke” straight to the watcher and who never takes our attentiveness for granted.

As for Ms King, her jazz adds a lot of modern flavouring to what could be otherwise well-worn swing. Pitch perfect and powerful she was a one-woman Greek chorus carefully matching words to the specific meanings of music and mood. I shall certainly be tracking her down to Ronnie Scott's for more.

Why Change Your Wife? is available on import DVD from Amazon whilst you can find Niki King’s music there as well as digital retailers such as eMusic. Niki's website is to be found here.

More information about the Birds Eye View Film Festival and Sounds and Silents is to be found here: they’ve given me renewed faith in Mr DeMille!

Beth's change of style had all the boys interested...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Second wind … The Wind (1928) w Lola Perrin, Electric Cinema

In which a mighty wind blows down the Portobello Road carrying Lillian Gish with it...

This is my second post of the year on The Wind as I couldn’t resist the chance to see the film with Lola Perrin’s accompaniment and also in the almost ludicrously plush environment of Notting Hill’s Electric Cinema.

Comfort cinema...
Ms Perrin won Best Live Score in the 2011 Silent London poll in what was a vintage year and I can understand why her mesmerising, driving lines drew such praise. She blows along with the film with squalls of melancholy exactly reflecting Letty Mason’s nightmare journey: sometimes rising with her panic and always pushing forward with the certainty that there’s more to come. At times the playing is almost percussive so fierce is the finger work but Perrin’s control is absolute and she carries forward some richly rewarding themes.

By contrast Letty’s fear of the wind is the fear of being out of control when you are most desperate to stay in control. She heads out to unknown Texas to find comfort with her adopted brother but she’s quickly blown of course by his jealously protective wife Cora – a whirlwind all of her own.

The train that takes her out travels relentlessly into the wind which momentarily forces its way into Letty’s coach: she tries to be brave but she can’t hold back her fear. She seeks solace in the security of powerful men by flirting with the bullying Wirt but can’t see beyond the alien surface of the two dirt cowboys who live near her cousin, laughing off their attempt at proposing at the dance.

Here she takes comfort in the resumption of, for her, normal social routine but even this is disrupted by a passing cyclone and she is driven further into Wirt’s arms. But he’s a hollow promise offering her only extra-marital exploitation and she’s left at the mercy of her sister-in-law who marries her off to Lige.

Their wedding night is another journey into discomfort for Letty as she faces up to his – sincere – love-making as she would brace herself against the elements. She just can’t let herself go and is too uptight to see the man behind the surface he is just too alien.

He vows not to touch her again and kindly agrees to return her to the east but she must endure a storm greater than any she could even expect.

The ranchers rally round in an effort to survive and have only the longshot of bringing in the wild horses as the great “Norther” wind blows in with supernatural ferocity. Lige is their leader and reveals his true character as Letty timidly begins to respect him.

He has no option to leave her alone as the men go out in search of the horses and she is driven to the edge of her reason by the incessant battering of their homestead. The wind smashes free the cattle and breaks through walls and windows and there seems no escape. At the same time Wirt returns for his fateful reunion with Letty – can she withstand this dual assault and at last find peace?

The view from the comfy seats, beds just before the stage...
As Miss Gish suffered on screen, the audience felt inappropriately pampered in the circumstances. The Electric Cinema is an unique venue with plush armchairs, footrests and side tables for your refreshments… there are even beds down at the front of house: yes, really. The friendly staff and antique surrounds create a cinematic experience that makes you feel at home whilst at the same time enjoying the full scale cinematic experience all but trampled away in the multiplex supermarkets.

I appreciated the performances even more in this setting – Lillian Gish is indeed an uncanny and unsettling force of nature: she always takes her characters to the limit and you cannot really sit that comfortably as her disquieting intensity draws you in.

The only quibble is that print was not a great one and it is to be hoped that The Wind gets the digital clean-up it deserves and a DVD release complete with Lola Perrin’s score. There's more about Lola here...

The film was being shown as part of the annual Birds EyeView Film Festival in the Sounds and Silents strand celebrating women in jazz, playing along with film… It continues for me tonight at the BFI: a date with Gloria Swanson. On Friday 11th April there’s Lubitsch’s lovely Sumurun with that astonishing score from Amira Kheir - the same winning combination was featured last year.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Bright lights, big city… Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis is probably one of the two or three silent films most people can name and for such an intensely evaluated film I feel a bit like Cordelia being challenged by her father to elevate her level of praise above that of her siblings: “…what can you say to draw a third more opulent than your sisters/fellow bloggers…” Maybe not much but I should have a go and I know King Lang isn’t fussed either way.

Robo women through the ages: Sophie May Williams gets silent on The Voice...
My teenage daughter asked to see the film, we’d just watched an episode of the BBC’s talent show, The Voice (Saturday night compromise TV...), which featured a staging drawn directly from Metropolis – proving the film’s enduring mainstream credentials almost 90 years on… Our Beth also wanted to understand more of the references to the film in Janelle Monae’s music. Both Monae’s two albums have looked back to Metropolis along with her early EP, called, erm, Metropolis: Suite 1 (The Chase)… The energetically eclectic, multi-talented Monae is obviously a woman of taste and discernment as, indeed, is my daughter.

How much she found connecting the concept albums with Fritz Lang and Thea Harbou’s story I’m not sure but The Electric Lady was certainly there for all to see with teenage Brigitte Helm’s amazing performance: she is mesmerising and gives a quite stunning physical performance as she switches from the graceful spiritualism of Maria to the body-popping kinetic madness of robo-Maria. Her energetic commitment is still genuinely shocking: she is the robot and she is infused with the nihilism of her creator laughing in the face of her own destruction.

Brigitte Helm
But the immediate dazzle of Metropolis is the city itself: a vision so powerful that you can trace its influence not just through to modern soul-punk but also through cinematic science fiction – Blade Runner even looks a little like it. Lonng before Philip K Dick Lang was telling us how badly the future can go wrong Lang was in there even if Aldous Huxley and HG Wells would already have agreed with him – although I'm not sure the latter was that impressed with the film: he called it silly… thank goodness he never saw the Giorgio Moroder version.

Lang presents a future world with amazing cohesion and style – and art deco heaven propped up by a Dadaist hell in which machines are oiled by the sweat of subterranean slaves who march in de-humanised desolation all unified in their defeat by a society that values only their number, not their individuality. Weimar Germany still lay crushed by the defeat/”betrayal” of 1918 and communist alternatives still found wide favour as did other developing ideologies that looked to redress the imbalances in German society.

Art deco heaven...
The Weimar was the first democratic government in Germany a country with no culture of democracy but of benevolent autocracy and political culture cannot be changed through process alone… if you are used to the Leader you may still look for a Leader (political scientist SE Finer is not alone in pointing out the ways in which changed systems must evolve and not just be imposed).

It’s not too much of a stretch to see Metropolis attempting to find answers to the question of how to rule and how to manage capitalist diversity… Then again it may just be a simple fable.

Greasing the wheels...
But the film also clearly portrays Modernism and by implication Americanisation, as a threat… albeit a good-looking one! Lang claimed later that his first trip to New York had inspired the film’s look and feel even though its stunning designs had already been completed by this time. Then again he could hardly have been unfamiliar with high-rise…. There are glimpses of San Francisco in The Spiders (1919-20) apart from anything else.

But again, is Metropolis any less of a fable than Die Neibelung – one looking forward the other looking back? Above all else Lang dealt in adventure and human drama and both films deliver mightily on both scores. What gives Metropolis the edge though is the scale of its forward-thinking fantasy: it was a step change in how the future was going to look and move from the airborne vehicles flying between the mile-high towers to the slow-moving traffic on crowded fly-overs.

The opening segment has the audience looking up at the sheer scale of the future city and then marvelling at how those at the top tier live, gymnastics in roof-top stadia and arboreal pleasure gardens: they appear to be free from the everyday, Earth-bound concerns.

That is until one of the playboys, Freder (Gustav Fröhlich) notices a young woman with a group of children clearly out of place in their rags. She is Maria (Brigitte Helm), a teacher who has bought her class of children to see the gardens above the ground.

Captivated, Freder, follows Maria as she returns below, he has no inkling that anyone lived under the city – having only ever seen the pristine environs of the elevated. He is the son of The Master of Metropolis, Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) and has no inkling that his father maintains the city in ruthless fashion…

Gustav Fröhlich and Brigitte Helm
As Freder explores the world below he finds a dispirited mass of workers regimented to the level of machines used to feed the immense foundries that bring light to the gleaming spires above.

Maria is one of those who bring hope, imploring her fellow workers to pray for their saviour: someone who will provide the heart to link the head in the clouds to the hands in the dirt. They meet in darkened caves as she preaches in front of a collection of crosses: has religion been outlawed in the future… driven underground.

Herr Rasp and Alfred Abel
But Joh Fredersen has no intention of sharing power or loosening his grip on the populace – he rules with authoritarian efficiency using a network of spies and secret policemen such as the sinister Thin Man (Fritz Rasp… has ever an actor been so perfectly type-cast by their name?). They rely on surveillance and betrayal to keep order… sadly this was to be the real future.

But order starts to break down as Freder becomes radicalised by what he sees underground and driven by his growing love for Maria returns to the underworld. Realising this, a desperate Joh Fredersen enlists the aid of Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) – the maddest of mad scientists who still mourns the love of his life Hel, the woman who died giving birth to Joh’s son Freder.

Jon and Rotwang hatch a plan
Rotwang has built a robot – Maschinenmensch - intended to give some kind of life to his beloved but which he now turns to another purpose: the corruption and destruction of the City. He will turn the worker’s hope into a catalyst for their hate whilst at the same time using her facsimile to push those over ground into a frenzy of lust and greed.

It’s going to be a long night.

I watched the BFI Blu-ray which features the Argentine footage found in 2008 which makes the story almost complete and much more understandable. The original score from Gottfried Huppertz is revived in stirring form and it’s wonderful to hear the original soundtrack for a silent film of this magnitude.

The most expensive film ever made by UFA and one to rival Hollywood’s excesses, Metropolis turned out to be a flop at the time – even 7500 extras couldn’t guarantee success… but this wasn’t entirely the fault of Lang’s vision. The American’s cut it down for being too long whilst certain, more communistic sections were excised in Germany. The Argentine film was a complete copy but two scenes featuring a monk preaching in the cathedral and the fight between Rotwang and Joh Fredersen were too badly damaged to resurrect.

What remains is now almost whole and one of the genuinely great silent films: a fable about the future from the past that says so much about the present in which it was made. By 1933 Thea von Harbou had joined a party intent on mediating from the head through the heart to the hands… She and Lang divorced and he headed off the America: the land of the free and the home of the high-rise.

The BFI Blu-ray/DVD is readily available direct or from Movie Mail and those Amazons… but you’ve probably already got it.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The birds and the beetles… Erotikon (1920)

This slick comedy illustrates just why Mauritz Stiller was so admired in Hollywood following on from his equally knowing and thoroughly modern films featuring Thomas Graal. Along with Lubitsch (who this film influenced), he was the master of sophisticated European cinematic suggestiveness with this film containing much about Eros and very little of the more overtly-functional specifics a casual glimpse at the title might indicate…   

It’s not exactly Lars von Trier but for the time Erotikon must have been shocking enough with its freewheeling infidelities and close-relations-relationships

Anders de Wahl and Tora Teje
Along with the great Victor Sjöström, Stiller produced World-class films in a period when Sweden was able to compete on equal terms not just with Germany and France but also America, building on a great theatrical tradition through the war years when it wasn’t possible to import films from those involved in the conflict. The quality of their film production, performance and cinematography was second to none.

Here Stiller takes a zoological view of human relations, comparing bourgeois social mores with the sex life of the beetles that form the focus of one of the central characters academic studies.

Based on A kék róka (The Blue Fox Stole) a play by Ferenc Herczeg, Erotikon was an ambitious production successfully aimed at overseas markets, it featured sumptuous sets designed by Stiller himself as well as aerial photography and a cast of many dozen beetles.

The sex lives of Beetles and one of the film's many witty intertitles
Professor Leo Charpentier (Anders de Wahl) is the entomologist in question and he is almost totally absorbed in his studies even if he can only attract a half dozen students to his stultifying lectures. His wife Irene (Tora Tejz) is left alone top her own devices and these prove not inconsiderable.

She drops off Leo’s forgotten brief case at the university and then checks her hectic diary: “2pm, teach the furrier some patience, 3pm go flying with Baron Felix…” and off she goes as Leo beetles off to prepare for his passion.

Karin Molander keener than most of the Professor's students...
At the University, Leo’s niece Marthe (Karin Molander) works diligently drawing beetles as well as drawing male students to her like bees to a flower. Listening in, she is  rather too excited by her uncle's discussion on and is greeted with a disapproving look from the elderly Professor Sidonius (Torsten Hammarén), poised like an arthritic preying mantis.

Marthe dotes on Uncle Leo and thinks Aunt Irene equally marvellous oblivious to her wide range of friendships but then she has her own reasons for flattery.

Irene spends an awfully long time not deciding on what furs to buy and then tells the exasperated shop owner that she will return tomorrow.She bumps into her friend the Baron (Vilhelm Bryde) in his 100 horsepower sports car: how the other half lived in 1920's Stockholm.

Up, up and away...
Irene makes her appointment with the Baron and off they fly up into the friendly sky. Leo’s best friend is a handsome sculptor Preben Wells (Lars Hanson, didn’t really need to mention “handsome” there did I?) who spots the couple and the plane: is he interested for his pal’s sake or his own?

Henrik Jaenzon’s cinematography is, like much else in the film , excellent and the aerial shots are fascinating especially as the plane flies close to ground passing over Preben as he looks up in concern.

A dinner party is held at the house and we see the complex relationship between Preben and Irene as she plays a love song on the piano, "Jeg Elsker Dig" (I Love You) and he smokes his pipe lost in thought – not surprisingly given the rather risqué dress she is wearing: the Twenties obviously started roaring early on in Sweden.

After they have eaten the party head off to the theatre to watch a ballet about the infidelity of an Arabian queen: Schaname. It's fascinating to watch a ballet from this period and the staging and choreography are spectacular with dancers Martin Oscár as the Shah and Carina Ari as the tragic herione Schaname.

A night at the opera
The show’s adult themes challenge the watchers as Irene looks at the Baron, Preben looks at her and Leo thinks perhaps of beetles… There are some witty shots of the audience as one wife pulls the opera glasses from her husband as he spends rather too much time admiring the leading dancer.
Don't look now...
Earlier Leo had calmly discussed how many mates specific beetles have as in some cases “one female is never enough”, and it’s not just some of the audience in the ballet that have similar perspectives. But beetles are more straightforward than people and what follows is a confusion of motives and interpretation as everyone miss-understands everyone else.
Preben might be worried for Leo and Irene but he also wants Irene and her splendid wardrobe for himself. But, the Professor’s wife is seemingly engaged in pursuit of the dashing Baron… her signals are confusing.

Tora Teje
At the same time, Professor Leo is oblivious not just to his wife’s obvious courting displays but also the close admiration of his niece (and I really hope she’s not a blood relative!).

Things come to a head when Irene returns to the frustrated furrier and sees Preben’s model try to order an expensive stole on his account… She leaves before the young lady’s request is declined after a phone call to the artist.

Then Preben sees the Baron enter an apartment with a young woman who looks very much like Irene… Both are now feeling betrayed by the other and as Preben points the finger in front of the astonished Leo, Irene heads off back to mother (Elin Lagergren) whilst the sculptor urges the Professor to seek satisfaction from the Baron: a duel that can surely have only one winner!

Preben is concerned for Leo's honour
No spoilers:  The various strands are tied up very neatly in a well-balanced closing sequence which I won’t reveal. The performances are superb with Tora Teje the stand out as her boredom and thrill-seeking is revealed as something else all together as  the real sadness in her life comes to the fore.

I watched the Kino DVD which comes with a really interesting modern score from Bruce Bennett which works around the action, creating a mood slightly at odds with some of the emotional shifts but none-the-less it's very interesting musically. For me it succeeds in connecting over the whole film by mirroring the uncertainty of the characters’ motivations and the film’s detached and forensic approach to its subjects. 

It’s also worth mentioning the inter-titles which feature illustrations passing sneaky comment on the story and characters… very post-modern design from Alva Lindbohm Lundin.

Erotikon is available direct from Kino or from online retailers named after a big river in Brazil.