Philosophy in the Bedroom

(Sex farce)

It's doubtful that even the notorious Marquis de Sade, whose writing inspired Philosophy in the Bedroom, would have been amused by this overly long sexual treatise, which is all talk and no play. Replete with four-letter words and graphic descriptions of sexual intercourse, but devoid of any real action, the movie should have longer life as a video title than midnight fare, as it's now shown.

First sequence, in which Angela (Aliena Grey)), a seductive-looking woman, engages in explicit talk about sex and anatomy with an allegedly well-hung man by the pool, promises a steamy, erotic follow-up. But alas, even the premise of an innocent virgin, Juliette (Jennifer Fabos), being introduced to the alluring world of the flesh, can't redeem this basically non-erotic exercise.

The strategy of writer-director Tony Guzman is to involve his characters in a detailed discourse of all the steamy sexual acts they are about to do, then to fade out the screen. In the next scene, however, same characters go on to describe the acts they have just completed. With these dull proceedings, audiences have plenty of time to ponder over Juliette's cheaply made wig or wonder how come the characters, supposedly engaged in wild orgies, always manage to look squeaky-clean and well-groomed.

Midway, the picture comes to an end, literally, when Mr. Dolman (Daniel Spector), who functions as de Sade's alter ego, solemnly reads whole chapters from his journal. Later, some dramatic interest is enhanced by the unexpected appearance of Juliette's rigid mother (Anna Scott), who's subjected by her daughter and company to sodomy, incest, lesbianism, adultery–all at the same time!

Guzman pretentiously claims to have been influenced by the visual style of Bresson and Dreyer, but shooting in black and white and keeping the camera close to his actors' inexpressive faces doesn't begin to approximate the distinctive signature of either the French or Danish masters.

A Filmhaus release of a Glorious Art Film production. Produced by Yelena Guzman. Directed, written by Tony Guzman; screenplay based upon the work of the Marquis de Sade. Camera (B&W), David Dechan; editor, John Pace; music, Robert Morgan Fisher; production design, Loo Lin; sound, Abdellah Rebia.

Running time: 88 min.

Dolman…..Daniel Spector
Juliette…Jennifer Fabos
Angela……..Aliena Grey
Mrs. Durand….Anna Scott
Richard…….Chris Grant