JESS FRANCO MONTH: Sinfonia Erotica (1980)

Based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade — that can be said about a lot of other Jess Franco movies — this is all about the rich Martine de Bressac (Lina Romay, but really Candy Coster, because she has on her blonde wig), who has just returned to her husband Marques Armando de Bressac (Armando Borges) after spending some time away and by away, I mean that she was in a sanitarium.

Yet when she gets home, she learned that her husband has been sleeping with men and women, but mostly with a nun named Norma (Susan Hemingway, who is also in Franco’s Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun) who has conspired with Armando to murder Martine and live off her money.

The only problem is that Norma is also in love with Flor (Mel Rodrigo), the bisexual boy that Armando is also lying with, so things are complicated.

Lit by candles, scored by Franz Liszt and a flirtation with the supposed death of Martine and even a Bay of Blood double stabbing and you have a movie that looks, feels and plays better than a lot of what Franco would do in the decade to come. Soft focus and lens flares make this look like a trip through a dream, but one that’s trapped in a home where everyone wants something carnal of their own and the death of its protagonist, who can be overcome and murdered by orgasm if the desire is pushed to its limit.

This is the only Franco movie I’ve seen that balances a sapphic encounter between Coster and Hemmingway with a male on male love scene between Borges and Rodrigo.

You can get this from Severin.

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