Based upon the novel Quicksand by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, this is the story of Louise von Hollendorf (Gudrun Landgrebe), whose husband Heinz (Kevin McNally, who much later ended up in the Pirates of the Carribbean series) is the senior diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She’s lonely and decides to take up art, but really takes up falling for another student, Mitsuko Matsugae (Mio Takaki), the daughter of the ambassador from Japan, a romance that Heinz attempts to stop.
Of course, he falls for Mitsuko, who soon turns their relationship into a triad with her in control, using sleeping pills to keep husband and wife from ever making love without her. You know, for a love affair that starts with a fake suicide, can you expect things to go well? And you can just imagine how the Third Reich feels about all of this. And then there’s more suicide, as all three lovers decide to die from drinking poison together.
Director and writer Liliana Cavani is perhaps best known for another movie that plays in this same space — sex and control in the midst of war — The Night Porter. This was the first film produced by Cannon’s Golan and Globus in Italy and it’s actually more art than sleaze, despite the movie’s description.
It’s also never been released in DVD in the U.S.