Bijou: A Film Review

When I chose “Bijou” (directed by Wakefield Poole) to review for PinkLabel.TV’s #PornClub, I chose it because I wanted to watch something that I normally wouldn’t choose on my own. I’m cisgender and heterosexual, but I’d probably let *that* one guy suck my dick. *ba dum dun ttsshh* So, I chose to watch some masculine porn. I’m glad that I chose Bijou.

Bijou (1972) feels like a place I’ve visited in past time fantasies. When I first started going to underground clubs in the late 90s, I remember similar vibes. Some spaces were loud when it felt like they shouldn’t have been, disorienting (due to their mix of neon, dark spaces, and mirrors), and salacious at every moment. Those are the same things I’d say to describe Bijou.

As the story begins, the music feels sorely out of place. I even suspected that I’d left Gustav Mahler playing in another program. Imagine a big, jarring score cascading out of your speakers as the characters on the screen move calmly through their day, setting the scene for an elegant experience. Generally, I try to avoid going into a new viewing with any expectations. However, I can still be surprised with happenings that I didn’t expect. Early on in the film, the main character steals something and that makes it hard to like him as a person. (It’s not the stealing per se, it’s who from and how that left a bad taste on it.) At any rate, it was a challenge for me to celebrate his pleasure in the beginning. Eventually, I got over it because the casual speakeasy sexual encounter that evolved into a hot group scene was absolute poetry.

Once the audience discovers what Bijou is, it’s hard to look away. Once Bill Harrison’s character enters Bijou, it’s easy to feel like you’re on a trip. Once inside, I watched a room full of yes. I watched a room balanced with exploration, desire, and natural intoxication. There was no drug/alcohol use in the flick, but everyone in Bijou seemed intoxicated with primal arousal. (I also loved the juxtaposition of the laissez-faire gatekeeper.) It’s always a pleasure to see actors enjoying their fucking work. I was into the entire “dark room” scene.

This isn’t a scripted, man meets man, sort of lust story. Instead, this adventure is like a surreal experience for the main character. The imagery on which he focuses during his (early) masturbation scene, ultimately, leaves him unsatisfied. (Note to self, try jacking off to Led Zeppelin in the future. It worked musically well in Bijou.) It’s easy to see that he’s searching for some unnamed experience. A friend once spoke about what constitutes a story. A character goes through some significant change and there you have your story. Bill Harrison’s character experiences change once his fantasy is fulfilled. The first time we see him smile, we know that the jewel that is Bijou was exactly what he needed in that moment to bring him joy that rounds out his story.

Would I recommend it? Fuck yes! Why? Watch it for the pleasure. Watch it for the surreal fantasy. Watch it to watch people enjoying their fucking work. But, watch it. I’d especially recommend this one to any CisHet man who has never felt comfortable talking about their pleasure out loud. Arousal and pleasure can be plain to see no matter how you feel about the characters on the screen.

Here’s a link to the flick on PinkLabel.TV

Advertisements

Camille 2000 (Film NOT Burlesque) Review

One of the things I enjoy about watching flicks from another era is the opportunity to put myself in the mindset of the, in this case, 1969 audience. I recently watched Camille 2000 directed by Radley Metzger. Going in, I was expecting to watch (my idea of) “vintage” porn. I was pleasantly surprised by this NC-17 Romantic Drama set in Rome.

Quick side note: Did you know that there’s one specific sex act that will bump a movie up from R rated to NC-17? It’s cunilingus! Yep, a woman receiving oral pleasure (that expression always makes me giggle) is what tips the scale. Patriarchy much?

Here I want to add a CW for some of the behavior of the men in this flick. Prep yourself, as a 1969 moviegoer, for consent violations in the form of what they consider to be playful flirting. Holy shit, the way they were picking up, at times literally, on women was troublesome. I’ll add another CW for language they used in the flick. I won’t repeat it here, but I let out an audible “WTF” when Marguerite called her designer a specific homosexual slur. I just wasn’t ready for that and I began to worry if I’d like the flick. I began looking deeper than dialogue and fell all the way in to their efforts of “modern” furniture that appeared to live on the line between fashion forward and ridiculous. I fell in to the funky soundtrack that was surprisingly uncheesy. Like, there was brown chicken, but no brown cow to the music. (*sing it with me* Brown chicken brown cow!) I loved the fashion and set design, although I’ll admit that I hated the poor little rich brats characters. It wasn’t a perfect movie.

The director chose some interesting perspectives for the sex scenes. They were the good kind of interesting, not the chin scratching kind of interesting. My absolute favorite shot in the whole flick was what I’ll call the cunilingus flower scene. You’ll know it when you see it. By the time I reached that point in the flick, I’d learned how the sex scenes evolved from the characters making eyes to undressing to their orgasms. But, I also learned what was considered risque or what was considered “blue” to the audiences of 1969. I say that to encourage you to watch this flick with a clean slate. Don’t go in expecting to see the details we see in 2019 scenes when the focus is fucking. Instead, go in for the love story and allow your heart and body to be turned on as the tension unfolds. I’d definitely watch this again.

Here’s a link to the flick.

Love and gratitude to @PinkLabelTV