Thursday, January 1, 2009

Schoolgirl Report #1: What Parents Don't Think is Possible

Nothing quite says New Year's Eve celebration quite like a 1970's-era German sexploitation flick masked as an educational film. Thus, I spent a quiet New Year's at home with the bf watching said movie - The Schoolgirl Report #1 (quick search - found out there's ten of these bad boys - and that they were wildly popular for a time, at least in their native land).
The film is set up like so - Renate (sp?) and her classmates are on a school trip to a witness all the thrills and excitements the power plant has to offer, and as interesting as that all sounds, Renate sneaks back to the bus to lay the bus driver. She's discovered by the matronly school marm, and a council is called in order to discuss what to do with Renate. Expulsion? But she only has a month left until graduation? She's a good student, what do we do, besides sit here and ring our hands? She admitted she doesn't love the bus driver. Sex without love!? What is this crazy concept?How, oh how, do we, the parents, makes sense of all this craziness?! Enter a psychologist man to explain (and defend!) Renate's behavior, and he does so super-sexily with eight erotic vignettes involving other teens from Renate's class. 
In one, a young girl pictures two horses getting it on, begins masturbating next to her sleeping younger sister, when mom walks in and catches her, and, you got it, shames her for it. Another has two teens meet up with two 'hot' studs (hot in quotes because this is very subject to opinion) and have sex with them at a construction site with hilarious results. One couple relegates themselves to sitting on a wheelbarrow filled with some sort of white liquid, which splashes all over the other couple, in the throws of passion by some pipes. 'How am I supposed to get an orgasm now?!,' the hot stud complains. A third has a lovely try and seduce a priest with her cleavage revealing blouse, only to have her advances rebuked for not being sincere. Another involves a tryst in a pool, only to result in an unwanted pregnancy. 
The film is clearly sexploitation. However, the softcore is interspersed with real scenes of women being interviewed on the street about their ideas towards sex in the 20th century. Do they engage in sex without love? Would they ever be paid for sex? Do they have boyfriends? Etc. and on down the line. Most of the women are young, but like the actresses in the movie, appear to be over 18. Most are very forward thinking in their attitudes about sex. They speak of sexual encounters candidly and openly. They admit to having sex outside of love, of relationships, to masturbating. They seemingly have no problem being women in this sense. But there is a morality to this film. And I'm making it seem much more forward and ahead of it's time than it is. It is actually quite a (gasp!) conservative film. A conservative sexploitation film, you ask? Sure....
There are consequences to our actions as some of the vignettes indicate. In very few of the scenes, do the women actually seem to be enjoying themselves, at least not in the sense of maybe they weren't very good actresses to begin. (Often when a film is in its native language and I have to read subtitles, I don't pay as much attention to the performance. Does this make sense? It's especially true when I watch Japanese movies and I don't watch a lot of German films but yeah, maybe they aren't good actresses or I'm just not paying attention like I should. didn't look like the ladies were having a particularly good time, with the exception of maybe Renate in the frame story.) Even thru the most eyebrow-raising scenes (the horse love masturbatory one in particular really struck a cord), there is a certain tenderness here, especially the last scene about virginity, the conclusion being maybe it really is better when you're actually in love. Some of the women interviewed admit to having STD's and seeming somewhat ashamed of it, laughing it off eventually. The film occupies its own dual universe - at one measure it is outrageous, defiant, even anti-authority, and in another educationally minded and sincere. 
The film began as a book- a best seller in Germany in 1969. It was kind of like the German version of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). This humble beginning, as it were, lends the film a further conservative, if not even clinical vibe. What is masking as a nudie film is actually a smart take on a slice of life, it gives us a glimpse of the impetuous youth of the 1970's. Softcore sleaze aside, I'm going to call this a cultural artifact. Maybe not a super important one, but a cultural artifact nonetheless. 
Whoa, I didn't think it would arrive at that, but it has and I'm going to try to track down the rest of these (which I think is the first thing I've actually resolved to do for the new year, being one that doesn't really dispense with a lot of silly resolutions every year). I'm sure they get worse, and loose the edge of this one, as it so often happens, but I like it when my vintage smut turns out to be socially conscious. Well, I guess I like it now, since I think this is the first time it's happened. My smut being socially conscious, that is. 

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