Michael York plays a naive writer/teacher, living in a debauched society in the 1930's which includes all the usual sexualities along with such perversions as child prostitution and incest. That society is about to head in a completely different direction. All the while, he forms a relationship with a damaged young woman(Anna Karina) who might also be the only female belly dancer for miles around.
Except it is not "Cabaret." It is "Justine," made three previously and possibly, sort-of, maybe Michael York's first lead role. The setting is also different enough to be interesting in Alexandria, Egypt on the verge of the British troops pulling out, which will leave the minority Coptic Christians at the mercy of the majority Muslim population.
But any kind of cogent story fails to emerge from such a busy milieu.(Just because somebody calls out Justine(Anouk Aimee) for her chronic indecision does not let anybody off the hook here.) The eclectic cast is always fun to watch, even if the casting of the Egyptian characters is problematic to say the least. And Jack Albertson makes a great impression to start while it takes almost the entire movie for Dirk Bogarde to realize that the movie is ripe for the picking. Plus, I finally get to see Philippe Noiret in drag.