Immoral Tales (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Immoral Tales (original French title Contes immoraux) is a 1974 film directed by Walerian Borowczyk, produced by Anatole Dauman and written by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.

The film Immoral Tales is composed of four stories set in four different epochs. Each story starts with a written prologue. The film was lauded by some for its unique surrealist vision and derided by others as pornography. However, in contrast to the aesthetics of modern visual pornography, its porno chic imagery is found disturbing, rather than amusing, by many viewers. The film is in French, also with Hungarian and Italian dialogues.

Immoral Tales was conceived in 1973 as a film of six stories. The other two were also filmed, but Une collection particulière was released as a separate short, and the footage of La véritable historie de la bête du Gévaudan became the dream sequence of the feature-length The Beast (1975).


Four erotic historical tales make up this collection: The Tide (La Maree), which features a 20-year-old boy and his 16-year-old cousin Julie (Lise Danvers), whom he persuades to perform oral sex on him, timed to the rhythm of the incoming surf; Therese Philosophe, which recounts the sexual awakening via masturbation of Victorian Therese (Charlotte Alexander) after she is locked in her bedroom; Erzsebet Bathory, a semi-historical account of mid-1500s countess Elisabeth Bathory (Paloma Picasso), who bathed in the blood of virginal girls; and Lucrezia Borgia, an account of Lucrezia Borgia (Florence Bellamy), who was involved in an incestuous, 15th-century orgy with her brother and her father, the Pope (Alexander VI).


Story 1: La Marée (The Tide):

My cousin Julie was sixteen, and I twenty, an age difference rendering her subject to my will.
La Marée, ma cousine, avait seize ans, j´en avais vingt, et cette petite différence d´âge la rendait à mes recommendements.

Present-day, France. André (Fabrice Luchini) tries to make his cousin perform fellatio on him. This original story was by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.

Story 2: Thérèse Philosophe

10th July 1890. The beatification is sought of Thérése H., the pious young woman shamefully violated by a tramp. Sunday Gazette
Thérèse Philosophe. 10 juillet 1890. "Les habitants de notre region demandent la béatification de Thérèse H., la pieuse jeune fille honteusement violée par un vagabond." (La Gazette du Dimanche)

19th century, France. A teenage countrygirl (Charlotte Alexandra) intermingles in her imagination, her dedication to Christ with her urge for sexuality.

Story 3: Erzsébet Báthory

In 1610, Countess Erzsébet Báthory toured the villages and hamlets of her domain at Nyitra in Hungary.
Erzsébet Báthory. En 1610. la Countesse Erzsébet, accompagnée de son page, visite de les villages et hameaux de son comtat de Nyitra en Hongrie.

Set in 17th century Hungary, this tells a story of Elizabeth Báthory. In the story Paloma Picasso appears in the role of the Countess. It was shot in Sweden, featuring Marie Forså as one of the girls at Báthory's castle who inserts a pearl from the Countess's broken necklace into her vagina.

Story 4: Lucrezia Borgia

In 1498, accompanied by her husband, Giovanni Sforza, Lucrezia Borgia visited her father, Pope Alexander VI and her brother Cardinal Cesare Borgia. Ecclessiastical debauchery was denounced by the Dominican friar Savonarola.
Lucrezia Borgia, accompagnée de son mari Giovanni Sforza, rend visite à son père, la pape Alexandre VI, et à son frère, le cardinal Cèsare Borgia. Le dominicain Hyeronimo Savonarola dénonce la vie dissolue du milien ecclésiastique.

15th century, Italy. Borgia family will continue with their incestuous relationships as his criticism brings the end of Girolamo Savonarola. The actor playing Pope Alexander VI is credited as "Jacopo Berinizi", a nom de plume used by Chris Marker who was a friend and collaborator to Borowczyk.

See also

Immoral Tales

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