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September 22, 2016

Dances and Sin

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Erotic Dances of Bettie Page
Irving Klaw
Cult Epics BD

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Sin
Nico B - 1990 - 2015
Cult Epics BD

A year before founding the company that eventually became Cult Epics in 1991, Nico B made a student film titled Slime. The 8mm film can be described as a montage of transgressive images. What is striking is that the imagery anticipates the kind of films Nico B would make available on home video, notable for his careful curation of titles by such filmmakers as Tinto Brass, Fernando Arrabal and Radley Metzger. The two new blu ray discs mark the 25th Anniversary of Nico B's Cult Epics label.

The Exotic Dances of Bettie Page is a collection of twelve short films, originally seen by collectors back in the 1950s as 8mm films sold primarily through Irving Klaw's mail order business. And ordinarily, one might not make a fuss about a group of films with no greater ambition than to document a woman shaking her booty in front of the camera, wearing a bra, panties, nylons and high heels. But Bettie Page's greatest asset was her smile, the look that told viewers that she not only was having fun, and sharing that sense of fun with her audience.

These films were never intended to be seen sixty years from when they were made, and some of the footage has deteriorated over the years. I think the reason why Bettie Page is still the subject of interest is because she radiates so much cheerfulness, bringing the word burlesque back to its original meaning of creating a work meant to invoke laughter.

The blu ray includes a brief collection of stills, dance performances for Kamera Club Films - one which is topless, and a documentary of Page's nephew, Rom Brem, discussing his aunt and their family at a Bettie Page exhibit in Catalina, shot last June.

Sin is a collection of short films by Nico B, inspired by 19th Century erotic stories. There are three short films, about ten minutes each, plus Slime and several very short 8mm films. Of the featured short Le Modele struck me with the most interest, cutting between a nude model and a nun, both played by Caroline Pierce. Still, it is Slime that would key viewing regarding Nico B's interests both as an occasional filmmaker, but more significantly as a home video entrepreneur. With a scene of a little girl with a scull, it's no surprise that a few years later, Nico B would be instrumental in making available the necrophiliac comedies of Jorg Buttgereit.

Posted by peter at September 22, 2016 08:13 AM