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Weekend Erotica: Making Camille 2000

Adult Filmmaking Legend Radley Metzger Explains the Tricks of His Titilating Trade

Hyperventilation, sheer stockings pulled over the camera lens and a bedroom made entirely of inflatable plastic were just three of the kinky hurdles that faced softcore king Radley Metzger when he made his 1969 movie Camille 2000, as he explains in this behind-the-scenes clip. Metzger spearheaded the 1960s crossover between high production values and adult entertainment, championing a different type of nudie movie, one that aspired to cinematography more often found in the art house than the adult movie theater. “It was an experimental time,” he says. “I don’t think anyone had used inflatable furniture before—there was no guide.” Here the director gives us his opinions on his eventual crossover into harder territory and his views on the erotica industry today.

As the 70s went on some of your films got a bit more hardcore. Was that your decision or did the audience demand it?
Radley Metzger: The market changed. There was no audience for films like Camille 2000 because explicit films became popular and took the audience away. We waited about two years and saw the numbers dwindle so we went in and did five films of a stronger nature. I could only do one thing—storytelling—so I just did the same thing but extended the love scenes. 

Playboy visited the set. Was the magazine a fan of yours?
RM: They must have been as they sent M. Frank Wolfe, one of the top photographers from Playboy, all the way to Rome. He was also a big help in making the film and had a very good sense of framing. 

Is pornography still an art form today?
RM: With what I did, the magic word is timing. We happened to be there when that kind of film was very chic. I am not too familiar with what’s going on today but I do see documentaries on cable television about what it is like. I think it has become an industry and it doesn’t have too much to do with the kind of storytelling we were doing. I don’t say that from a snobbish point of view—it's just very different. 

Camille 2000 is restored and released for the very first time in the UK on Blu-Ray and DVD from February 11.

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Conversations (3)

  • schoolanduniversity.com
    This film doesn't attempt to do much in the way of taboo bashing, at least not in the same way as other Metzger films do. The only real sense we get that this is the swinging sixties is in the fact that both of the main characters are unapologetic about their past promiscuity. However, even that isn't so daring as the basis for the plot is about them committing, or not committing, to one another exclusively. What it does do is to provide a context for the sensual onscreen action and some magnificent settings, and for me, that's enough.
  • schoolanduniversity.com
    I guess that to Ebert, and many contemporary critics, Camille 2000 seemed to have its head up its own *****. A film that was more about style than substance, but desperately trying to say something in the midst of acres of spectacular art direction, but with much soul. Honestly, I can see where that criticism comes from. Daniele Gaubert and Nino Castelnuova both give fairly wooden performances, and since the film's success as an emotionally gripping narrative rests on their chemistry, it is a bit of a stretch. However, what really has me impressed about Camille 2000 is precisely the thing that seemed to bother Ebert. The style is magnificent.
  • Franco De Rose
    salacious and erotic

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  • On Replay
    On Replay

    WIZ: Strait Street

    The Acclaimed Filmmaker Uncovers Malta’s Bawdy Past in a New Video for Dark Horses

    Vintage footage of sailors and the pleasures of the Maltese harbor punctuate this premiere from British director WIZ, who follows local performer Ira Melkonyan as she wanders hypnotized through the shadows of a rundown palazzo in Valetta’s Old Town, towards the sounds of the Brighton-based art rockers Dark Horses. With a music videography including shorts for David Bowie, Dizzee Rascal and Marilyn Manson, WIZ himself sets the scene for his latest work in a prose poem written to accompany “Anna Minor”, a track from Black Music, the band’s debut album: "Strait Street, known to British servicemen as ‘the Gut’, was Malta’s notorious red light district up until the early 1970s. A choice destination for drunken sailors when the street sprung into life in the long hours of darkness— barmaids would lean on doorways touting for business, musicians, entertainers and prostitutes would spill from every bar." This summer, Dark Horses was invited to perform and record in Malta and the studio space where they found themselves was high up on the infamous row. A close friend of the band, WIZ mixed their menacing guitars with voiceover recollections from a Maltese transvestite who used to work the strip, meshed with the sordid sounds of the world’s oldest profession. “An orgasm is one of the most intense experiences,” he says, reflecting on Dark Horses frontwoman Lisa Elle’s vocal climax, captured on stage at the Valetta venue Floriana Ditch. “There must be some kind of residue here, the amount of sex that was going on over a hundred years. Perhaps Dark Horses’ music somehow activated the sensations from the past.”
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  • Most Shared in Design
    Most Shared in Design

    Betony Vernon: Sex & Design

    The Jeweler Creates Erotic Sculptures with Tuscan Marble Once Used by Michaelangelo

    The slopes and quarries of Tuscany’s Monte Altissimo provide a dramatic backdrop for the designer and sexual anthropologist Betony Vernon’s first foray into marble, shot by NOWNESS contributor Estelle Hanania. The créatrice behind erotic jewelry line Paradise Found, Vernon has exhibited at the annual Salone del Mobile and London’s Victoria and Albert museum, in addition to collaborating with brands including Missoni and Gianfranco Ferré. A native of Virginia now based between Paris and Milan, she traveled to the famed marble headquarters after being asked to contribute to KAMA: Sex & Design, the forthcoming exhibition at Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, for which she decided to expand her repertoire to include marmoreal creations, recruiting the help of Henraux President and foundation spearhead Paolo Carli. “I want to see the material, I want to learn, I want to have a scalpel in hand and chip away at the marble and feel the way the handle bounces off it,” effuses Vernon, who Carli placed with one of the company’s long-term artisans for the project. A stalwart leader in marble, Henraux has worked with storied artists including Henry Moore, Joan Mirò and Tony Cragg since its establishment in 1821. Its quarries, meanwhile, have been in use since they were discovered by Michaelangelo and excavated by the Medici family in the 16th century; today, an educational institution dedicated to preserving that age-old level of craftsmanship in the region takes advantage of the remains. “Think what’s been made with marble,” Vernon says. “It is the symbol of skin.” The newfound sculptor weighs in on sex and substance.

    What do you find most sensual about Italy?
    The abundance of Caravaggio, the remnants of Pagan culture, and the primary ingredients that make for fabulous food!

    Do you have a favorite or little known aphrodisiac ingredient?
    Puntarelle with salsa d'acciughe. Puntarelle is a fall vegetable that I have only ever seen in Italy and that seasonality is one of the reasons it’s so sexy.

    What piece of art do you find most erotic?
    It is impossible to choose just one! The Frescoes in Pompei, Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World, Irving Klaw’s images of Bettie Page, and John Willie’s fabulous erotic illustrations all come to mind at once!  My head is spinning.

    What is the best piece of erotic literature?
    Anne Desclos’ The Story of O.

    What's the most interesting new fetish you've heard about?
    It is certainly not new, but suddenly revived: the moustache fetish!

    (Read More)

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