VIDEO ARCHIVES NOTES: This movie was discussed on the January 3, 2023 episode of the Video Archives podcast and can be found on their site here.

I’m writing this at 5 AM and feel very confessional, so here it is: by all rights, Sylvia Kristel was my first girlfriend. By that, I mean to say that I never met her, never spoke with her and never will. But in the mid 80s, in my shyest years, the closest thing I would get to losing my innocence was watching late night Sylvia Kristel movies including EmmanuellePrivate LessonsLady Chatterley’s Lover and Mata Hari. As I watched this film, I was trying to figure out what I saw in her way back then. My options were limited and even in real life, I had such difficulty even speaking to real women. And then I saw her calves in one scene and it unlocked a sense memory in me. Sylvia Kristel, even her name alone, meant something forbidden yet sophisticated. Maybe I wasn’t above the teen sex comedy watching boys in my high school, but perhaps I was also besotten with a much higher class level of crush.

Also known as Es war nicht die Nachtigall in Germany (It Was Not the Nightingale, a reference to the Verona balcony where Kristel acts out a scene from Romeo and Juliet) and Summer Girl, this is really about Pauli (Ekkehardt Belle), who keeps getting close to losing his virginity and continually having it ruined. Like Yvonne (Teri Tordai), who he also speaks to on a train, only to walk back in on her making love; he later learns that she’s his father’s (Jean-Claude Bouillon) new mistress.

Spending the summer at home after being at boarding school, he must deal with his strange family, which includes his doddering grandmother Mimi (Rose Renée Roth), exhibitionist piano-playing Uncle Alex (Peter Berling), lesbian leaning Aunt Miriam (Giesla Hahn) and her latest conquest, the maid Silvana (Christine Glasner).

And oh yes. Andrea (Kristel).

The last time he saw her, she was a girl. Now, she’s definitely grown into a woman with needs much like his. Yet he’s too shy, too worried, too anxious. There’s even a moment where they may get close on a boat — or maybe his best friend Gerhard (Alois Mittermaier) will — that ends up in tragedy.

Pauli is about as unlikeable as a hero as you can get. He nearly assaults one of the maids, mopes about, is convinced that Andrea is frigid and only comes out of his incel shell when he is given a mercy fuck by his father’s lover. To be fair, that scene is great, as they make love on a bed filled with breakfast food and end up covered with it.

In fact, this movie is obsessed with food. Several scenes involve it being in the bed or smeared on someone’s body and the rich family eats like every meal is La Grande Bouffe.

The film was sold on Kristel, who isn’t the lead, but with taglines like “

This is the kind of movie where someone’s dad sleeps with the girl their son loves, where a best friend is killed by the hero and no one ever questions it and where the lead can assault women and even smack Kristel with a tennis ball but hey, we’re supposed to like him because you tell us to. I refuse, the rich snot.

As always, Sylvia Kristel deserved better.

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