Saturday, 12 April 2008

Camille 2000 (1969)

Imagine Camille remade as an adult film, with the action transposed from 19th century Paris to the world of the 1960s jet set, and you pretty much have the idea behind Radley Metzger’s Camille 2000. But this is a 1969 adult film, so by the standards of the 1970s (or of today) it’s ridiculously tame. Which doesn’t matter, because no-one is going to watch this movie today as a softcore sex movie. You’re going to watch it as an exercise in 60s style, and as a reminder of a vanished era when art and trash, and sex and serious film-making, were able to co-exist without difficulty. And this movie is gloriously and deliriously stylish. It’s a glimpse of a world of outrageous wealth and decadence, and the sets are simply magnificent. It’s also an extravagantly arty film, which manages to get away with its artistic pretensions. There’s actually very little sex, but the sex scenes that are there are an object lesson in how to film sex scenes. It’s all done with mirrors, Lots and lots of mirrors. It should end up being excessively precious and pretentious but somehow it works. It manages to be genuinely erotic while showing so little that it would probably get a PG rating today. It’s a visually stunning movie, with wonderful sets, clothing and assorted 1960s objets d’art. The DVD transfer is a little disappointing, with rather washed-out colours and quite a few scratches. It’s all surprisingly entertaining, and a must for lovers of 60s style and 60s camp.

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