Premiers Desirs (1984)
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Critic Reviews for Premiers Desirs
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Audience Reviews for Premiers Desirs
It's all about sensitivity and soft focus for David Hamilton, a director from a bygone age of earnest erotica. He poses his subjects like in the paintings of Rubens, and seduction scenes proceed at a pace of live action slow-motion. There's not much story, and the logistics of where people are and what time they are there never made sense, but to his credit he's more interested in exploring the honesty of people's feelings. I only watched this because it marked the film debut of the luminous Emmanuelle Beart who received something like sixth billing, but it turned out to be better, and certainly more mature, than I expected for a sexual-coming-of-age feature. Some quality camerawork, including a memorable shot expressing the distance between a husband on the pier and his wife departing in a boat, and beautiful bodies keep the eyes satisfied. The ending is quite abrupt and I was rather stunned at the way the guy was hung out to dry following the greatest grief of his life!
Stunningly beautiful, innocently sexual coming of age story, expertly shot and acted. Only marred by a few questionably absurd actions/reactions by the characters.
Premiers Desirs starts off with some promise; three young women stranded on an occupied island, ready to experience their coming of age story. But where the promise hints at a greater narrative, what is actually delivered is a scattered plot that doesn't know which character to focus on, some pretty island scenes, and lots of nakedness--typically in the form of standing in front of mirrors, or lounging on beds or splashing in the ocean. It's very much not-sex nakedness. None of the females in the movie are particularly distinctive. They're all of the same blonde hair, young variety. Even the wife of the billionaire fixation of our "protagonist" is basically a carbon copy of the main trio of girls, just a couple of years older. The males are a bit more distinctive, insofar as you've got two normal pigheaded, randy dudes looking for sex and willing to sweet talk themselves into the discussion. Then there is the brooding kid who is angry because our protagonist doesn't realize he saved her (and fixates her hero worship on the previously mentioned billionaire). And then there is the billionaire himself, a shifty sort of guy who shatters our hopes for his character when we think perhaps he does have a moral backbone. He comes across as completely unworthy of his wife. All of the actual sex that happens here is implied. We assume that the randy boys get their groove on, but we do so without visual evidence. Those two girls and guys are more sub characters anyway, so whatever. We see more between the billionaire and his wife and, later, the billionaire and our protagonist. But even then, it's a whole lot of smoke and mirrors; naked bodies, yes, sensual caresses, yes, and weak kisses fluttering about. It all feels very jr. high. I'm wondering if part of this is due to our protagonists' age? She does look awful young. Then again, the actor playing her friend was 20 when this movie released. Doesn't mean she's the same age, of course. And the amount of nudity all of the girls flash would presume not-too-young, though who knows what the French standards on things like that. Which is a long-winded way of say that regardless of how old the actors were, Premiers Desirs will likely leave you feeling a bit uncomfortable. Either there will be too much nudity with iffily-aged actors, or there will be too much tease without payoff. And least you accuse me of only focusing on the sex (or lackthereof), well, considering the atrocious lack of engaging narrative, there really isn't anything else to try to focus on.
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