Synopsis: This head-turner, which premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival’s Director’s Fortnight, provides an intriguing counterpoint to today’s bland, fantasy-driven version of sex in the cinema, presenting every type of coupling known to man, woman, or dog, performed in virtually every combination you can imagine. A beautifully restored compilation of French silent porn movies made between 1905 and 1930.
Review: I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t walk into this film expecting what I got. And judging by the audience reaction when, within the first minute of The Good Old Naughty Days, two playful young women strip each other nude and simultaneously [CENSORED] each other in extremely graphic detail, I wasn’t the only one who underestimated it. I mean, I knew it was going to be a compilation of French pornographic films from the early 1900’s, but how racy does that sound? Not very. How racy is it actually? Hard-freakin’-core! More so than most modern porn, I would venture. Seriously, I’ve seen things tonight that I never thought I would see in my entire life. Did I enjoy this film? Would you judge me if I said yes?
Okay, obviously this film is one big novelty, so even if it wasn’t porn, it would be hard to answer a question like, “Did you enjoy it?” I would compare the experience of watching The Good Old Naughty Days most immediately to Japanarama! Psycho TV From Japan—weak cries of “This is so fucked up!” through uncontrollable laughter filled the auditorium I was in. And it is indeed fucked up. The frank explicitness of the BIZARRE sexual acts performed here makes most modern porn seem almost tame in comparison. There are women with women, women with men, men with men, plus all varieties of threesomes, NUNS WITH DOGS, and more. Here are some sample “plotlines”:
* A woman has a mysterious itch on her inner thigh, so her female friend helps her out by stripping her naked and [CENSORED] her [CENSORED]. Suddenly, a man walks in on them and is shocked! To convince him not to tell anyone what he has seen, the two women both [CENSORED] his [CENSORED] at the same time until he has a heart attack.
* Two nuns are praying the rosary (!) when a woman comes by and drops her dog off with them. The first nun lifts up her habit and forces the dog to [CENSORED] her [CENSORED], while the second nun pulls aside a nearby schoolgirl and [CENSORED] her, after which all three women [CENSORED] each other at the same time. Meanwhile, the dog [CENSORED] a passing priest’s [CENSORED].
* A man responds to an ad in the paper by two female masseuses whose slogan is, “If you come… you’ll come again!” Oh, you know what happens next.
The biggest difference between modern porn and this collection of century-old porn is that everyone back then was smiling the whole time. It’s really what makes the whole film watchable, because the people onscreen don’t seem to find what they’re doing “dirty.” It’s like it hasn’t crossed their minds that what they’re doing isn’t, er, “conventional.” Yes, even when a nun is encouraging a pet dog to [CENSORED] a priest. Somehow, there’s an air of innocence surrounding even the kinkiest acts we witness that makes The Good Old Naughty Days at once shocking, hilarious, bewildering, and fascinating. I’m glad I saw this one with a full house, because if there were any less of us, we would have felt like pervs.
I can’t bring myself to reward this “novel” compilation with more than six slices because, god, it’s PORN! But I refuse to give it anything less than that because it was such a rollicking good time. It was a festival of deprivation! It was a carnival of perversion! It was a parade of kinkiness! And if it’s wrong that I find that to be first-class entertainment, well, I don’t want to be right.