JOE D’AMATO WEEK: The Pleasure (1985)

Oh man, this movie. You know, Joe D’Amato did a lot of adult-themed movies but he did them because — well, up until it was straight porn — he knew how to do them right. And weird, too.

Gerard (Gabriel Tinti) mourns the death of his mistress Leonora (Andrea Guzon), who has left behind tape recordings of their lovemaking, which he listens to as he records his memoirs, bringing back memories of meeting her in the midst of acarnivall and taking her in public and then inside an opium den alongside the exotic Haunani (who else but Laura Gemser?).

Now, as he readies her body for burial, he must raise her children Ursula (also Gurzon) and Edmund (Marco Mattioli), whose constant nervous outbursts about class-related issues can only be calmed by allowing him to nurse on a woman’s breast, even his sister’s, because hey Joe D’Amato directed this.

Also — Ursula is sexually obsessed with the older man and listens to the audiotapes to the point that she re-records them in her own voice and even threatens to auction herself off the highest bidder, meaning that Gerard must face off with uncaring police and fascist military types to keep her modesty. And she’s working in the same house of ill repute that her mother worked in, which is run by Rosa (Dagmar Lassander).

Lili Carati also appears as Gerard’s roommate and occasional lover and the lover of Edmund for a time. Carati was a model turned actress who was in To Be TwentyEscape from Women’s PrisonL’alcovaChristina and played the Occultist in Violent Shit: The Movie, which was dedicated to her as she died before it was released.

D’Amato used his real name — Aristide Massaccesi — as his cinematogapher credit for this film. It looks gorgeous, with a dreamy close that echoes the first scene of the film. D’Amato often gets discussed as someone who didn’t care about the movies that he was making. One look at this movie — which also echoes his other major success Buio Omega — and you’ll know that he did have his heart in this movie.

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