dreamlike and erotic French fairytale is certainly not for all tastes
but comes recommended. Mondo Macabro USA R0 DVD.
Travelling through rural France, two girls, Françoise
and Anna find themselves lost in the dark, and they spend the night
sleeping in a barn. The next morning when Françoise
awakens, she finds Anna gone and a mysterious dwarf leads her through a
forest to a castle on an island. Arriving there she is greeted by three
girls and lead to meet Morgana, in charge of the island. Meanwhile,
Anna is in the basement, and is being offered the chance to give up her
soul to Morgana in exchange for eternal beauty, or to grow old and die
in the basement with others who have refused the offer. Hearing her
screams, Françoise tries to escape the island, but Morgana
brings her back, promising to teach her the magic that only Morgana
French director Bruno Gantillon was looking to break into cinema with
an ambitious script for a political thriller, however with only
television experience behind him, producers were unwilling to take the
risks, and instead he was encouraged to produce a much lower budget film
first. Surreal erotic cinema was very big in the late 1960s/early 1970s
era thanks to directors like Jean Rollin (La Vampire nue (1969)) and Jess Franco (Venus in Furs (1969)).
story itself is very basic and begins with the classic horror
movie cliché of two people stuck in a forest when their car
breaks down, but from then on, the film is very dreamlike and rather
unique. While many of the Rollin films, especially his ealier works are
criticised for looking good but making no sense, Morgana et ses Nymphes,
despite its strange atmosphere, does actually make sense in the end, although in keeping with the dream-like
atmosphere of the production, the pacing of the film is very slow and it is very easy to
fall asleep while watching.
Morgana herself is based on the figure from Authurian legend, popular
in French literature during the later Middle Ages and variously
considered to be a wicked sourceress and Authur's half-sister, tutoured
by Merlin and enemy of Guinevere, although the script does not directly tie the
Morgana here with that of Authurian legend or the similar French Charlemagne
tales to which she has been associated. Gantillon's film presents her as a
wicked but fair woman who expects servitude from the women she takes
into her kingdom, but does grant them eternal life in exchange, and
seems to treat them relatively well.
Gantillon's direction was clearly inspired by his aims to impress the
cinema audience and thus producers, and to help keep the film
"artistic" rather than devolving into pornography. Although there are
numerous lesbian sex sequences, and plenty of nudity, the film always
remains tasteful - consequentially it is far more erotic
than a lot of true exploitation movies from the 1970s. The film was
mostly shot in location at the beautiful Castle du Val in southern France, and combined
with the suitably surreal soundtrack, the real locations help to give the film
atmosphere. Although most of the casts are unknowns, they generally
look good, particularly the very attractive Mireille Saunin who plays
the film's bountiful nudity meant that the it could never be
truly appreciated by the art-house circles and was never show in
America or the USA - it would be three years before Emmanuelle
(1974) would bring sex into the mainstream of artistic cinema. Without
big notices Bruno Gantillon was never able to make a big break into
cinema, and returned to
television directing by the end of the decade. Nevertheless, Morgana et ses Nymphes
stands as a beautiful and erotic film; certainly not to all tastes, it
is very slow paced and lightly plotted, but fans of Jess Franco and his
kin should enjoy. Recommended.
famous in it?
No-one well known.
Directed by anyone
Bruno Gantillon - a little known French television director.
Several softcore lesbian sex scenes and scenes of female nudity.
Who is it for?
Fans of dreamlike cinema will enjoy this, and those who like their erotica tasteful and artistic.
Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 widescreen. Anamorphically enhanced. Colour.
The film is very nice visually, with strong colours, almost no print damage and only mild grain.
Original French audio track - sounds good.
English - translates the French.
The disc includes:
Extensive and detailed onscreen text notes about the film (equivalent of liner notes)
Bruno Gantillon's first production, the short film Un couple d'artistes
(1970). A rather clever little film, it shows some good direction.
Anamorphic widescreen, and a good looking print. (13 minutes - in French with English subs)
interview segment with Bruno Gantillon, including clips from his films
and some interesting information, if rather brief (no details on
his later works). (10 min - in English)
Original French theatrical trailer, includes some footage not in the final film.
Scenes - three brief scenes, one of them from an Italian TV taping.
Nothing key to the plot, but interesting to see. No audio track.
Notes on the main cast and crew, plus on the locations used.
Mondo Macabro trailer reel. (5m 20s)
(All) - NTSC
The film is available on an uncut British DVD, but without the restored print or bonus features.
film is believed to be fully uncut, although various versions of the
film exist and numerous censor cuts were made to the original film in various territories. French
A wonderfully beautiful and erotic film, the slow pacing and sparse plot might put some to sleep. Recommended.
A strong DVD release with a good print and some interesting and very well researched bonus features. Highly recommended DVD.