Knowing the rough outline of the story. Girl meets boy, boy turns out to be a pimp, things get bad, had me expecting a rather tawdry exploitation flick of dubious quality. Imagine my surprise at the wondrous, decadent and almost psychedelic opening - I thought at first I was watching a trailer for something else. No straightforward narrative, this is a french film of the early seventies, and we do hop back and forth just to complicate things further for the viewer but those visuals are wondrous throughout, the score is most imaginative and effective and Karin Schubert is stunning. I have to also mention that the beautiful starlet is naked for much of the film but lest you get mislead, this is not a slice of sexy seventies gallic soft-core. This is much more like the territory of fellow compatriot, Alain Robbe Grillet and forces us to confront the deepest depths of sadomasochism. Whereas, however, he adds some arty look to the proceedings, here Pierre Alain Jolivet simply directs and edits as if we are watching something beautiful and consensual. No arty asides and no concessions. And despite all the horror there are a few scenes that are just so beautifully and powerfully shot that they remain fixed in ones mind.
Drama / Thriller
Drama / Thriller
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Britt, deluxe call-girl, is punished by the brothel owner because she was not accomodating enough to a customer. From now on, she must obey to all customers sadistic wishes, or else.
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A very difficult film to enjoy that is so ravishing to look at
An intellectual approach to pornography?
The film depicts in vivid detail the story of a young woman abducted by a prostitution ring, who falls in love with one of the organization's henchmen, attempts to escape with him, is persecuted, and ends tragically. The story is adapted from an autobiographical novel by a prostitute, to which some more twists, violent, and gore were added. In some countries, the film was targeted as hard-core, both for the violence, and explicit nude and sex scenes. If you view it as a drama, it is quite a good actioner/thriller.
Evil Gem of a Movie...
What can be said about "La Punition?" During the mid 70's there was a handful of these glossy S&M films, probably influenced by the success of Just Jaeckin's "Story of O." Well "The Punishment" is like "Story of O" on steroids; it's quite a bit heavier in both the sex and especially violence department. Karin Schubert, a familiar presence in many erotic and "grindhouse" films from the 1970's, is the centerpiece of this very cruel and mean spirited film. She crosses her cold-hearted pimp by not performing her required duties with one of her tricks. She is whisked away to a Gothic mansion, and locked in a room, containing nothing but a steel bed frame with no mattress, and a closet of bondage sex toys. The philosophy of "La Punition" is based on the idea that subconsciously, we all want to be "punished," or forcibly disciplined in some way. Karin Schubert, as the character Britt, is punished in some truly brutal scenes, including a vicious whipping that leaves her covered in blood. This is a movie that is specifically a product of the 1970's. It could never be made before this decade, and it most definitely could NEVER be made today. It is undeniably a fascinating piece of film history, that reveals a lot about the time in which it was made. Apparently women were still being objectified and judged solely on their beauty and sexual allure, and were seen as little more than trophies to be possessed by rich, or powerful men.
Having only seen Schubert in her "Emanuelle" films, such as the original "Black Emanuelle," and the ultra-sleazy "Emanuelle Around the World," with her tough attitude and her short, butch haircut, I was really surprised at how gorgeous she is in this earlier film. She really is exquisite here. And the film itself is also very beautiful to look at. It truly is a quality, art-house production, however the unsettling nature of it will turn many viewers away. There is a lot going on beneath it's glossy surface, and I think multiple viewings will reveal the film's bizarre philosophy, told through symbolism as well as startling images. I can't help but compare "La Punition" to "Autumn Born" starring Dorothy Stratten, as the two films are very similar. This is not a very well-known title, but this haunting, nightmarish movie is worth tracking down for fans of this genre. Wonderful soundtrack too..