Thursday, March 18, 2010

In short: Fluctuations (1969 or 1970)

A Woman reads a book called "Voyeur", sitting on a chair, naked below the waist. Another woman stares at "A History of Orgies". Two karateka are fighting in a living room, while fighting sounds play out of synch. Two seconds of moaning as recorded over a telephone are looped endlessly. The slowest striptease in the history of the world starts. The kinkiness ramps up and up and up, going from threesomes, to hair-whipping to sleepy druggy sex to the voyeur woman wrestling with the karate guys. Some time during all this, the moaning turns into a lewd phone conversation with special interest in excrements and love as hate as love. Close-ups of scars. Writhing. People staring into the camera. More looped moaning.

Whenever I think I have reached the point in my film-watching career where no amount of weird stuff in a movie could surprise me, I find a film like this. It is of course not surprising to find a late 60s East Coast sexploitation epic that is utterly weird - that's the rule and not the exception - but it is a surprise to find one that seems to be either the product of the mind of an experimental filmmaker who has watched too many smutty pictures or of a smut filmmaker who has watched too many experimental films.

Directed by Joel Landwehr ("a film student", the Internet tells me) under the most excellent alias Leo J. Rhewdnal, Fluctuations is decidedly unsexy. Everyone's writhing and staring is so zoned out, utterly distanced and abstracted that I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that Landwehr was trying to use Brechtian theatrical techniques, which, I might add, seems just insane in a skinflick.

It is possible that Landwehr was trying to make a point about the connection between sex and violence in sexploitation, but it is also quite possible that his film is a product of some sort of drug binge.

There's not much else I can say to illuminate anything about the film. It's one of those cases of "has to be seen (to be believed)". It might get a little strenuous to watch, but who said watching sexploitation is all fun and games?


No comments: