Publicly admitting you read comics means you’re willing to put up with a perplexingly persistent notion of the medium as the exclusive domain of the super heroes. Even in the current realm of savvy pop art dabblers as likely to pray at the altar of independents like Image Comics as they are the Big Two there’s this lingering idea that in the beginning there was only the cape and spandex set and it’s just in the past three decades that we’ve really let in the serious Graphic Novelists and autobio peddlers. Sneering intellectual jokesters will spit at the funnybooks without recognizing the origins of that alternate name and basement dwelling dilettantes will tell you it was only when the bearded British men came to our shores that we got hip. But comics have always been weird. Comics have always contained multitudes.On a weekly basis at the start of the 20th century, Winsor McCay cranked out surrealist panel breaking masterpieces lushly detailed enough to inspire both Dali and Moebius decades down the line, with nary a cape in sight. Before Marvel was even an idea, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created romance comics, presaging the soap operas that would eventually inspire Chris Claremont’s convoluted narratives in that other misbegotten Kirby co-creation X-Men. And then there was Herbie. Continue reading…
Posted February 10, 2006
WE ARE ALL NAKED (1966/69) Starring: Alain Saury, Catherine Riberio, Jacques Normand, Gerard Desales
This sex flavoured art film, a gorgeous Canada/France co-production shot in black and white with pathos and depressing drama to spare, promotes the concept that living with a poverty-stricken dysfunctional family on the beach in France — really SUCKS.
Alcoholic father Jean-Louie (Jacques Normand), can’t control his ageing nymphomaniac wife who throws herself at anyone with a cock, evidenced by the opening scene where he spots her dicking around in the dunes with yet another dude. When he scowls and yells out, “I have caught you! I am your husband, and I have caught you!”, she just looks plainly unimpressed and goes back to fondling the groin at hand.
Meanwhile, back on the homestead (which is up the beach in one of the many enormous concrete bunkers on the wretched windswept Normandy coastline in Northern France) their sweet young daughter Isabelle is getting molested by a pair of horny fishermen. Not to worry though, her pathetic parents arrive back home before any real damage can be done, and pooh-pooh the salty ruffians away with the wave of a hand and a stern look. The rest of their penniless brood arrives, and is made up of an uncontrollable mentally retarded son played by Gerard Desales and an indifferent orphaned teenage niece named Jeanne, played with dripping sexuality by the gorgeous black haired Portuguese hottie Catherine Riberio.
A harmonica-playin’, gun totin’, denim wearin’, hunky stranger (Alain Saury) shows up on the scene — attracted to the stench of the desperate and willing flesh of Jean-Louie’s floozy wife. He sniffs around and decides to stick it out to see if he can make a deposit in the sultry young Jeanne’s panties as well. His best pick up line being; “So you don’t want meat? I like meat.”
Meanwhile, pops mopes around swilling the cognac, and their retarded son (inspired by the hunting skills of denim-lad) begins stealing livestock from local farmers and butchering them unflinchingly, disturbingly, on screen. After one sickening display of sheep mutilation with a sharp blade, he starts roughly mauling poor Jeanne’s boobs with his blood soaked hands before trying to slit her throat.
The entire thing escalates from there, alternating between passionate seductive sex and depressing twists of fate amongst the gray monolithic concrete bunkers. Director Claude Pierson sold his film to the arthouse crowd (even scoring recognition at the Cannes film fest) but WE ARE ALL NAKED is also dipped in the sins of the Grindhouse as well. As cranky reviewer Gerald Pratley wrote in his book, A CENTURY OF CANADIAN CINEMA, “Of course everyone is Naked. What else would you expect from Pierson the sex peddler?”
Released in France and Canada as ILS SONT NUS, the English dubbed version of this forgotten Canadian classic (now available from Something Weird Video) was penned by the director of 1964’s THE FLESH EATERS, Jack Curtis. Jack is also somewhat recognizable to kids of the ’60s as the voice of Pops Racer, Inspector Detector and the announcer on the SPEED RACER cartoon. His script here is true to the texture of the visuals, although he may have added more profanity than the original Canadian version in French presented in 1966.
This was Claude Pierson’s first feature film of a career that ended up spanning 20 years. He also helmed EROTIC LOVE GAMES (1971), NAKED LOVERS (1977), JUSTINE DE SADE (1972) and collaborated with eurotrash god Jess Franco on JUSTINE (1975). Pierson worked very closely with his wife Huguette Boisvert who acted as writer and editor on many of the films he made. The little girl played by their daughter; Isabelle Pierson, went on 20 years later to become the youngest producer-director in France’s history, with her first feature being a pseudo documentary about shock journalism called WHITE SQUARE (aka SCOOP).
Pierson’s somewhat risqué ’60s fare, transformed and moved along with the times into hardcore XXX territory, in which he used a slew of other aliases including Andrée Marchand, Caroline Joyce and Paul Martin. This period of his career hit its apex with a memorable hardcore foursome sex scene featuring a dwarf in PERVERSE (1984). The rest of you Canadian filmmakers should be so lucky.