Released on home video in 1996, this is an ersatz anthology feature culled from a high-profile 1993 series of short subjects done for German television, in which assorted guest filmmakers expounded upon sex. Despite the exploitable title, the overall effect is more ribald than erotic.
In "The Dutch Master," young New Yorkers discuss the strange case of their pal Teresa (Mira Sorvino). Three weeks before her marriage she becomes enamored with a Vermeer-style painting in an art museum. She believes she can see randy Netherlanders and their serving wenches within the canvas coming
to life and reacting, invitingly, to her presence. Teresa begins wearing clogs and bonnets to her dental-assistant job, with sexier things on her mind than teeth. Ultimately, she steps into the painting and becomes part of the action just out of the frame. Her friends and fiance search for her in
In "The Insatiable Mrs. Kirsch," an unnamed narrator (Simon Shepherd) holidays in Dorset, his work on a novel distracted by fellow guest Mrs. Kirsch (Hetty Baynes), a seemingly ordinary middle-aged woman whose husband is absent. He is fascinated by the lady's frequent exits, followed by the
buzzing of a vibrator in her room. Pressed by the storyteller into a luncheon date, Mrs. Kirsch still can't help leaving for another round with the apparatus. Ultimately the innocent truth emerges: she recently gave birth to a sickly child, and those suggestive noises are really portable breast
pumps, storing mother's milk for when the baby is well enough to leave the hospital.
In "Vroom Vroom Vroooom," Leroy (Richard Barboza) is a kid in the deep south who has no luck with girls. He asks a voodoo witch doctor to give him what he most desires. And in a lightning-streaked churchyard he finds her--a sleek, new motorcycle. This is no ordinary machine; as he accelerates, its
chassis morphs into a beautiful woman between Leroy's legs, and their joyride becomes a sex act. Local girls now notice Leroy for his hot wheels, and one of them talks her way into a ride. The jealous motorcycle pitches them off, and when the girl mounts it solo to get help, the bike transforms
between her legs--into a handsome and welcoming young man.
In "Wet," bathroom-fixtures salesman Bruce (Arliss Howard) is closing up for the night when he gets an enticing and insistent customer, Davida (Cynda Williams). She will buy a hot tub, she says, but only if she can try it out first. She strips down and insists Bruce join her in the showroom floor
model, to try out the fit. This is all being videotaped by a female accomplice outside the store window. She and Davida run numerous scams like this, and their apartment residence is filled with luxuries purchased through blackmail.
While none of the individual segments in TALES OF EROTICA are completely successful, and they hang much better together than separately. Seidelman's "The Dutch Master" (nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Subject) ends on a creepy note of multiple voyeurism, as its colorless
heroine placidly submits to being a sort of painting within the painting; with a slight adjustment in tone this could have gone very easily from bachelorette raunchy to "Twilight Zone" eerie. Ken Russell's extended anecdote is a masterful build-up of lewd innuendo, with a grand sight gag involving
a English tourist attraction--a naked caveman-type painting on an English hillside, on which Mrs. Kirsch dances with delight. Melvin Van Peebles is in fine stylistic form with his funky tall tale of a rebel and his bike (enhanced by nice computer graphics) but there's not quite enough plot to fill
out its proscribed 26-minute length--and seven minutes of padding and repetition can seem like an eternity in the short-subject format. Rafelson's closing sketch, though more character-driven than the others, winds up serving a rather pointless O. Henry trick ending.
As a whole, TALES OF EROTICA is a far better omnibus than such lamentable exercises as ARIA and FOUR ROOMS. Though Russell and Van Peebles are clearly the flamboyant and provocative auteurs in the bunch, its quartet of directors each put a distinctive stamp on their entries. The viewer comes away
with a sense of having sampled a diverse assortment of cinematic appetizers, if not a whole buffet. (Nudity, adult situations, sexual situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: Released on home video in 1996, this is an ersatz anthology feature culled from a high-profile 1993 series of short subjects done for German television, in which assorted guest filmmakers expounded upon sex. Despite the exploitable title, the overall effec… (more)