Overall a trite and unconvincing rehash of the "deflowering a virgin" fetish that dates back to De Sade, LOLA REVE THE VIRGIN is instructive in demonstrating palpably the shortcomings of British gonzo director Kendo. Just as Chaplin persisted in making silent films long after Sound had replaced the format, so too does Kendo continue his antiquated approach -just fine for gonzo crap but disastrous for story films like this project.
The French pornographer Marc Dorcel has turned to Kendo and others away from France recently to fill out his product line, and the result is mish-mash. Mixing actors of different nationalities is nothing new - I love the weird co-productions of the '60s which for investor and protectionist reasons insisted on a Yugoslavian leading lady, French leading man and German supporting players even if it was nominally an Italian Western. Here we have lovely Lola Reve (lightheartedly nicknamed Lola Nightmare by her frequent director Herve Bodilis of the Dorcel stable) in the title role, pretending even in the Making Of short subject that she is still a virgin - though fans having watched her on-screen for a couple of years already knew better.
That DVD bonus short has director Kendo over-explaining his approach to the story and revealing what I have suspected - he doesn't know anything (or care about) conventional storyline cinema. He repeatedly calls the players "models", not actors or actresses, and that is really all one needs to know about him.
I watched both the English (original for this shot in England feature) and alternate French track versions of LOLA, and in each the dialogue is either muffled or entirely muted to silence, in favor of narration by a dubber pretending to be the voice of Lola. Of course the stage name comes from Lolita, as Ms. Reve is the latest and most successful jail-bait actress in porn, starring in numerous Dorcel projects. One has only to glance at the box cover of his feature STEWARDESSES to see that the actress (or model??) is quite capable of essaying mature or sophisticated parts too.
Very poorly structured (Kendo himself misstates the order and import of individual scenes in his long-winded interview material), film depicts just-19 Lola as a shy lass disgusted with the sexual liberties of her divorced mom (played by the great Cathy Heaven), who sleeps around. She flees to live with her mom's best friend Denise (played by British actress Alex Angel) and her live-in boyfriend David (Demetri XXX).
The beauty and simplification factor of shooting basically MOS (except for direct- sound moaning and groaning during humping) is revealed as Kendo refers to the character David as "Harry" in his interview - one can change names, incidents, and story at will during post-production. The action we see on-screen bears little direct relation to the narration which supposedly informs us of the "story" -Kendo is fast and loose with supporting parts played by Peter Oh Tool and Pascal White, also contradicted between what he describes and what the narrator says.
Kendo also frequently cheats on the film's diary = recollection structure. Most of the sex scenes take place when Lola is not present (e.g., her mom's endless humping at the beginning, or a party scene where the sex occurs after she splits), yet it is purportedly her explicit descriptions that we are watching. He wants to have it both ways: a fake subjective p-o-v from Lola's memory vs. docu realism of hardcore porn, and assumes the viewer is too stupid to care about anything but viewing "a bit of the old in-and-out" to paraphrase a British cliché.
All this criticism pales beside Kendo's bungling of the film's raison d'etre, the de- virginization of the leading lady. This isn't Louis Malle's PRETTY BABY with Brooke Shields, this is XXX porn, so the explicit nature of the sex act is paramount. Kendo does a decent job of teasing, beating around the bush (though Lola Reve is a carefully shaved-vagina actress) for many reels until the moment arrives, but he ruins it. That's because he can't resist earlier having helpful Denise use b.f. David as guinea pig first, to teach Lola the proper art of hand job and blow job on a live subject. This is Clinton-esque: just foreplay to Bubba Bill and an excuse for Kendo to toss in an extra Lola sex scene even if it damages the overall film's suspense.
So when they pick up a guy at a night club and Denise tests his sexual prowess before turning the bloke over to Lola to penetrate her vagina it's an anti-climax. Next scene is the proverbial "6 months later", when Lola makes amends for her shyness by either humping 2 of Denise's other boyfriends (if you are to believe the revisionist after-thought of the narration) or actually executes a mirror image of the opening sex scene where she rejected Oh Tool and Pascal at a birthday party out of prudishness, but is now sexually liberated and to use the old cliché "a woman, not a girl anymore" to hump them replete with a d.p. to finish the shot-on-video movie.
I suspect the problem here is a modern one -many of today's leading directors hail from TV commercial, music-video backgrounds, and are not well-suited to real storytelling. I interviewed another Brit, Adrian Lyne a couple of times in the '80s when he was such a big deal (specializing in mainstream eroticism in Hollywood hit movies) and he reflects this syndrome though he adapted well for a while before being put out to pasture after a couple of flops. It doesn't take Herculean effort to direct some dialog scenes to set up the sex scenes in modern porn, but Kendo refuses to do so. A more talented filmmaker could have built an engrossing, even touching story about Ms. Reve's rite of passage, but this ain't it.
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