By Julie Bréthous
Le Festival du Film de Fesses is a French film festival dedicated to the discovery of an alternative erotic cinema. Founded in 2014 by Maud Bambou and Anastasia Rachman, it opened its first edition at cinema Le Nouveau Latina, with a retrospective focusing on French filmmaker Jean-François Davy’s ‘eroticomical’ trilogy, La Trilogie Paillarde, (Banane Métallique, Prenez la Queue Comme tout le Monde and Q) and an exclusive screening of his cult documentary, Exhibition . A year later, the festival opened its new edition at cinema Lumidor Hôtel de Ville in Paris, from June 24th to June 28th 2015.
Trailer of the Festival du Film de Fesses (2015), Bertrand Mandico
In this second edition, the spotlight has been brought on Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk. Discovered during the first edition of the FFF by Maud and Anastasia though Bertrand Mandico’s cinematic praise of his work, Boro In The Box (2011), Borowczyk would have six of his most accomplished movies chosen for an exclusive retrospective.
Contes immoraux (1974) – 103 min
Docteur Jeckyll et les femmes (1981) – 92 min.
Cérémonie d’Amour (1987) – 100 min
La Bête (1975) – 94 min.
Intérieur d’un Couvent (1978) – 95 min
Une Collection Particulière (1975) – 12 min / Documentaire
Le Festival du Film de Fesses shared Borowczyk’s vision of sexuality to the public, notably through his masterpiece Contes Immoraux (Immoral Tales, 1974), which stared a young Fabrice Luchini, explaining to his on–screen cousin Paloma Picasso the movements of tides and the art of a good fellatio. To the eyes of the team, Walerian Borowczyk was a filmmaker with a unique view on erotic movies, a view embracing human instincts and human love, a view giving women a lot more importance and value than in mainstream pornography or erotica.
A more contemporary approach to erotic cinema was taken with Bertrand Mandico, already screened in the first edition and director of the 2015’s trailer (see above). Five of his short movies were presented, with the focus put on his muse, Elina Löwensohn.
Notre Dame des hormones (2014) – 30 min
Préhistoric Cabaret (2013) -10 min
Vie et Mort d’Henry Darger (2010) – 6 min
Souvenir d’un montreur de seins (2014) – 8 min 30
S…Sa… Salam…Salammbô (2014) – 7 min
But the festival did not only focus on these filmmakers. A broad range of movies, most of them of short formats, with heterosexual, gay filmmakers from all over the world, were shown. No vision is ever to be considered better than the other in the FFF and all movie makers are on the spotlight. With a programme dedicated on the sacred and mystical, an erotic, mysterious and sensual sexuality was showcased and praised.
Daphné ou la Belle Plante, Sébastien Laudenbach & Sylvain Derosne (2014) – 14min
La Isla Esta Encantada Con Ustedes, Daniel Schmidt & Alexander Carver (2014) – 28 min
In Death is Softly Sing, Katrin Olafsdottir (2014) – 10 min
Nova Dubain, Gustavo Vinagre (2014) – 53 min
Salut Phallus, Katrin Olafsdottir (2015)- 10 min
Internal Body Shots, Jasco Viefhues (2014) – 12 min
The Shadow of Your Smile, Alexei Dmitriev (2014) – 3 min
Iron Maiden, Virgil Vernier (2014) – 23 min
With ‘What’s your flavour?’ an exclusive selection of experimental movies was dedicated to Queer culture. Equally sexy and political, these films all reflect on the presence of the body within the digital age.
“We both are attracted to erotic movies, explained Anastasia Rachman. I am more into the imagery, and collect erotic photography. Maud is more into words. Most existing film festivals focus on activist concerns: feminist, LGBT etc. It seemed to us we could just use some frivolity.”
With Le Festival du Film de Fesses, Maud and Anastasia’s goal is to represent ‘on screen’ sex in its various shapes. The movies are indeed of the erotic/pornographic kind. But rather than focusing on a traditional internet-like masturbatory goal, their purpose it to explore the vacuity of the human kind and the wide variety of ways to escape it. Both of them apprehend sex as ‘the starting point of a comprehension of the world’. As such, they want to put forward a sexuality both intelligent and fun that have and will keep on inspiring people in embracing a plural way of looking at the world.
Known as ‘the genius who also happened to be a pornographer’, Borowczyk directed around 50 movies during his career, both in Poland and adoptive city of Paris. Inspired by surrealism, he went on exploring a wide range of film-making technique, from stop-motion to live-action feature film, always using and distorting historical settings or well-known tales to create a unique yet familiar environment.
Obscure Pleasures: The Films of Walerian Borowczyk, Trailer
Immoral Tales (1974), Borowczyk
Graduate from the Gobelins, French school of animated movies, Bertrand Mandico took an early step in his career away from animation to real life shots. Playing with a wide variety of formats, the filmmaker is not afraid of experimentation and navigates through genders to create weird and fascinating movies. All focused on human desires, frustrations and instincts, the narration, acting and filming itself are seen as performances, a beautiful ‘organised chaos’, where Mandico always want to challenge the status-quo.
Notre Dame des Hormones (2014), Bertrand Mandico