19 April, 2011


LA CASA DE LAS MUJERES PERDIDAS - Jesús Franco - 1982 # Clasificado ... | http://www.bloodyplanet.co...

Thanks to Nzoog I finally go the chance to screen one of Jess Franco's more obscure, but worthwhile, titles, the 1982 Golden Films Internacional production, LA CASA DE LAS MUJERES PERDIDAS. A difficult to describe blend of social satire, melodrama, erotic interludes, thematic and character references to Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST and KING LEAR, Cervantes' DON QUIJOTE DE LA MANCHA and even Ingmar Bergman's "island" films. That's a heady blend for sure and Franco would remake it, as BROKEN DOLLS, in 1999. After a cursory view I would say I prefer LA CASA... but the final scene of the demise of the father in BROKEN DOLLS is, for me,  one of the most memorable scenes of the director's digital oeuvre. 


A haunting piano sonata co-written by Franco and Rebecca White weaves through the film which opens and closes with shots of the Ocean. One could say the director's invocation of the Oceanic quality of cinema and his own oeuvre. It concerns the degeneration and final destruction of the Mendoza family. It's a kind of chamber cinema piece with only five characters excellently played by Antonio Mayans, Lina Romay, Carmen Carrion, Tony Skios [Antonio Rebello] and especially Susana Kerr [Asuncion Calero] whose developmentally disabled shrieks maker her one of the most indelible characters in the Franco canon. Franco developed the script with Bunuel's collaborator, Jean Claude Carriere, who also adapted CARTES SUR TABLE (1966), but he remains uncredited on the print I saw. 

La casa de las mujeres perdidas Download Movie Pictures Photos Images | http://123nonstop.com/pictur...
Desde (Lina Romay) and the mysterious hunter (Tony Siios)

The main problem with this film is it attempts to infuse what is essentially a CLASIFICADA "S" item with ambitious literary/dramatic elements. That could be seen as a good thing, or very misguided. In fact, the film presents the director as his most inspired and misguided.  Did the target audience appreciate it? Who exactly was the target audience? The use of limited space, the Techniscope framing, and the flow of images, however, are arresting. I will have a lot more to say about this film in the future.

 The print Nzoog sent came from the Barcelona Channel but the film can also be downloaded. I would suggest to try and find an English subtitled, high quality, OAR print because the dialogue, aspect ratio and use of colors are key to appreciating this. Franco has said this is one of his most iconoclastic films (that's saying something!).

According to Franco "...it's a story of manners...bad manners! It looks like Bunuel's THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, yet it's different totally different. It mostly concerns la petite bourgeoisie" [Jess Franco, 1986. Quoted from OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO--p.153.]

Thanks again to Nzoog for helping me to see this. 

(C) Robert Monell, 2011

1 comment:

firirinabe said...

This was the Franco film I most wanted to see and I was a little disappointed when I finally saw it. But that might be partly due to the language barrier. I still prefer Broken Dolls, which seems like his last really major film. Though hopefully there will be another.