The sensually provocative images of internationally acclaimed photographer David Hamilton again move and breathe in Laura. A delicate journey through innocence, beauty and sensuality involving a 16 year old ballet dancer who falls in love with her mother’s former lover, a 40 year old sculptor. A classic cinematic treatment of mother-daughter competition and the first stirrings of sexuality. With utmost taste and talent, Hamilton presents the gratification of budding womanhood.
1979 – Certificate: 18 – French Film
5.0 out of 10
For reasons that mostly baffle me but probably point to a severe breakdown in the decision-making process somewhere, I’m trusted with the management of nine people at work, plus another two or three that are ‘incoming’. I’ve never received much in the way of training to accomplish this, but I do my best. I try to work them all to within an inch of their lives, make them feel worthless and in awe of me, blame them when something goes wrong and take the credit when something goes well. I provide them with impossible deadlines and grass them up to more senior people when they fail to meet them. I invent or overcomplicate existing procedures, to make their lives as difficult as possible. My managerial catch-phrase is, “if you don’t like it you can leave”. In fact the only book on management I’ve ever read is “The Art of Demotivation”. I’d heartily recommend this to anyone who manages staff. I keep my well-thumbed copy by my desk at all times. Despite my obvious lack of emotional intelligence, in a strange way I consider these ‘resource units’ as my family. (In that sense I care for them deeply, in the same way that Captain Janeway on the Starship Voyager cared for her crew, but still managed to nearly get them killed most weeks.) Consequently, I get very distressed when any of them decide to fly the nest or take maternity leave. (Mainly because of the extra hassle it’s going to cause me.) In the next couple of months I have to recruit three or four new members of staff. From experience, I’m pretty sure that interviewing is about as close as a man can get to giving birth. The only difference is that we interview during office hours to a sensible timetable that minimises the disruption it causes. It is however a painful experience, in which you deal with things as best you can, when all you really want to do is scream and moan about how long it’s all taking, as you wait for the candidate(s) to come into the room so to speak. And my top tips for interviewing? Always have the interview panel with the light behind its back. I find it helps to put interviewees at ease if you silhouette yourselves. I also find that starting off interviews with the question, “what’s the worst question we could ask you today?” often helps to put candidates at ease too. If I don’t see tears by the end, I know I’m facing a tough son-of-a-bitch, who might one day challenge my Alpha Male status, an attribute that at work we call Wow; strangely, these people always score really poorly and consequently never get appointed. There’s nothing Wow about this film either.
David Hamilton made a few films like this and they’re all crap. This is probably because I know nothing about art and can never relate to anything or anyone in them. And I hate the ‘soft focus’ (i.e. out of focus) photography that always seems to get used too, so it’s not just the people, plots and places I don’t get. I guess if I was cultured enough I’d think this movie was a cinegraphic masterpiece that “presents the gratification of budding womanhood” and unrequited love, rather than some child porn dressed up as art. But what do I know? I’m probably just an ignorant, Mail-reading Brit, who thinks anything foreign is rubbish (unless it’s American or curry). I guess if I go out and kill someone on purpose, as long as I do it tastefully it’s art, not murder. Having said that, there is a story of sorts (a somewhat pervy love triangle) and a bit of action when something catches fire. There’s also some ‘fun’ with weed-killer too. (It’s a good example of what happens when you don’t store and use chemicals correctly.) I guess if you can work around all its technical and plot foibles, then you could get something positive out of it. (It’s not unlike a trashy B-movie in that respect.)
The soundtrack is mainly plinky-plonky ‘emotional’ piano or dated prog rock. It’s not something I’d miss if it was somehow erased for existence by time-travelling, intergalactic film critics.
Trailer. Well if there is one I couldn’t find it. Yes, the Internet has let me down. The best I managed to locate were some clips, so I’ve picked out an especially action-packed one for here.
Recommended for sculptors, dancers and anyone with a very open mind.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I guess it’s another reason for me to be sent to Hell, but Paul (40) manages to get off with Laura (15). It’s not that I approve or would want to be in his place; it’s just that he could, which makes it badass, although mostly just bad. What’s he got that I haven’t? Other than he’s good looking, French, talented, sexy and (in these post-Saville times) “a sinister pervert who used his fame to get close to young women and girls”. No wait, that’s Rolf Harris.
We don’t have forever on this Earth. Even if we don’t manage to wreck it totally in the next few years, most of us only have a finite amount of time here. Today I’m dealing with the guilt of having squandered 89 minutes of mine, watching possibly the worst film I’ve ever seen, Premier Désirs. This 1983 film from France is wrong on so, so many levels. In fact it’s probably wrong on every level. It was directed by David Hamilton, the famous photographer best known for his arty child porn; (sorry, I meant to say his classic studies of beautiful young women); not to be confused with DJ “Diddy” David Hamilton. So why is it so bad? Well…
It’s filmed in a stupid 1.66:1 aspect ratio. If you’re going to try to do widescreen, don’t piss about with “fat academy ratio”. It’s not funny and it’s not clever; it’s just stupid.
It’s got mono sound and it’s full of crackles and hisses. Clearly a film that claims to be so big on photogenics has conveniently forgotten about what it sounds like. I personally don’t enjoy listening to anything with a bowl of Rice Krispies and box of snakes attached to my head.
It’s dubbed into English. No French soundtrack or English subtitles were available on my DVD. Dubbing is the spawn of the Devil.
Now I could forgive its technical limitations if it actually had a good story, but sadly the story makes no sense at all. Trust me, it’s abysmal, inconsistent, stupid, unrealistic, nonsensical, irritating and encapsulates everything that’s bad and old-fashioned about France. It’s the sort of story only those who are entirely and utterly isolated from need, could ever hope to relate to. Every character is a caricature and nearly every scene is ridiculous, with the final big scene a horrifyingly tasteless one. It’s not so much it’s full of plot holes, it’s more that it’s all hole and no plot. I could feel myself dying just a little inside, second by second. It brings a whole new meaning to the film genera of torture porn!
I came in from the corner shop this afternoon and found Penny had decided to be sick on the carpet, and this film immediately popped into my head.
No, I didn’t like it very much.
Right now I’m listening to a live version of “This is Not a Love Song” by Public Image Limited.