This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“Steamy Art House Hits”
Nothing suggests the fruits of forbidden passions like high-toned foreign cinema – especially the European kind shown in fusty little art houses that are free of the Puritanical restrictions of Hollywood’s ratings system. That’s the rather seductive allure of the four-disc DVD collection, “Steamy Art House Hits,” due out on Tuesday.
But as generations of curious (read that, randy) young cinema enthusiasts have discovered, much to their dismay, there’s a great distance between gussied-up porno and the rather serious and weighty, albeit sexually frank, subject matter that flickers on the screens of art houses.
“Steamy Art House Hits” gathers four unrelated, ambitious and thematically serious films intended for mature audiences into a seductive package and presents them without much in the way of connective comment or analysis, except their “steamy art house” cache.
The films are:
“Secret Things” (2002), directed by Jean-Claude Brisseau. In this French-language drama, two young Paris women discover the power of sex to help them rise to the top of the male-dominated business world.
“Don’t Let Me Die on a Sunday” (1998), directed by Didier Le Pecheur.
Another French drama, this one set in a morgue and examining the relationship between a worker and a party girl who embark on an strange odyssey to ease their chilling sense of despair at life.
“Torremolinos 73” (2003), directed by Pablo Berger. This Spanish-language comedy follows a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman and his wife as they embark on a sideline of making educational sex tapes at home.
“House of the Sleeping Beauties” (2006), directed by Vadim Glowna. This German-language drama tells the creepy, haunting story of a recently widowed man who discovers a secret establishment that allows him to sleep an entire night next to beautiful, mysteriously slumbering young women.
“Steamy Art House Hits” is not rated and runs 389 minutes on four discs. It’s being released by First Run Features.
- Dennis King