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Immoral Tales

Cover of the French DVD release, featuring a scene from the story Lucrezia Borgia
Directed by Walerian Borowczyk
Produced by Anatole Dauman
Written by André Pieyre de Mandiargues
Starring Lise Danvers
Fabrice Luchini
Charlotte Alexandra
Paloma Picasso
Pascale Christophe
Florence Bellamy
Music by Maurice Leroux
Cinematography Bernard Daillencourt
Guy Durban
Noël Véry
Michel Zolat
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) August 28, 1974 (French release)
March 10, 1976 (U.S. release)
Running time 103 min.
Language French

Immoral Tales (original French title Contes immoraux) is a 1974 film directed by Polish film director Walerian Borowczyk.

The film is composed of four stories set in four different epochs. Each story starts with a written prologue. The film was lauded by some for its unique surrealist vision and derided by others as pornography. However, in contrast to the aesthetics of modern visual pornography, its imagery is found disturbing, rather than amusing, by many viewers. The film is in French, with Hungarian and Italian dialogue.

The title is a pun on Éric Rohmer's Six contes moraux (Six Moral Tales) series of films, with which they share actor Fabrice Luchini. Immoral Tales was in fact conceived as a film of six stories in 1973. The other two episodes were also filmed but Une collection particulière was released as a separate short, and the footage of La véritable historie de la bête du Gévaudan became the dream sequence in Borowczyk's feature-length film La bête (1975).

Immoral Tales was the first erotic film broadcast on French television (by Antenne 2), in 1978. The fourth segment was omitted from the broadcast due to the death of the Pope.

Synopsis

Story 1: La Marée (The Tide):

My cousin Julie was sixteen, and I twenty, an age difference rendering her subject to my will.

Present-day, France. André (Fabrice Luchini) tries to make his cousin perform fellatio on him. This original story was by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.

Story 2: Thérése Philosophe

10th July 1890. The beatification is sought of Thérése H., the pious young woman shamefully violated by a tramp. Sunday Gazette

19th century, France. A teenage countrygirl (Charlotte Alexandra) intermingles in her imagination, her dedication to Christ with her urge for sexuality.

Story 3: Erzsébet Báthory

In 1610, Countess Erzsébet Báthory toured the villages and hamlets of her domain at Nyitra in Hungary.

Set in 17th century Hungary, this tells a story of Elizabeth Báthory. In the story Paloma Picasso appears in the role of the Countess. It was shot in Sweden, featuring Marie Forså as one of the girls at Báthory's castle who inserts a pearl from the Countess's broken necklace into her vagina.

Story 4: Lucrezia Borgia

In 1498, accompanied by her husband, Giovanni Sforza, Lucrezia Borgia visited her father, Pope Alexander VI and her brother Cardinal Cesare Borgia. Ecclessiastical debauchery was denounced by the Dominican friar Savonarola.

15th century, Italy. Borgia family will continue with their incestuous relationships as his criticism brings the end of Girolamo Savonarola. The actor playing Pope Alexander VI is credited as "Jacopo Berinizi", a nom de plume used by Chris Marker who was a friend and collaborator to Borowczyk.

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