Monday, March 22, 2010

Loving and Laughing

(John Sole, 1971)
It makes perfect sense that Quebec's 'Quiet Revolution' coincided with the rise of exploitation kings John Dunning and Andre Link, who in this film make their goofball case for nudism, free love, getting stoned, and subverting authorities too dumb to assert their prerogatives. Sure it's a total pander-fest, but it's also a breezy and quite hilarious piece of filmmaking; the extreme male-centrism of the world view is tempered by the wit and eccentricity of the skimpily-attired female performers, and while the 'faggot'-baiting is pretty sad, it could certainly be worse. In fact by midway there are almost as many weenies as mammaries flapping around the screen, and the film lucks out with its parallel of hippie commune and New England mansion - the point is that horniness is the universal language, and better that than Duplessis. The energy level of the Vermont performers is positively shocking - that yoga-freak daughter actually made me collapse in hysterics at least twice - and the steady stream of verbal wit augments the slapstick engagingly enough to suggest actual intelligence. You're definitely laughing with, not at, and while it wouldn't survive a deep reading, it rarely stands still long enough to encourage one anyway. The hippie brass band is a lovely touch too, and the film features an actual, detailed aside on the economics of communal living - I love the doomed attempt to buy health food from a small town Quebec grocer, who considers sesame seeds 'foreign food'.

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