Surrealist film based on a nightmare. Arsène, a lonely and restless young man suffering from persecution mania, tries to protect himself from thieves – and from himself – by setting traps in his home. Helplessly he assists in the robbery and looting of his house by a couple of kleptomaniac girls, whom he has deliberately taken to his house. Fascinated by them, during the night he becomes his own executioner and the plaything of destructive childhood fantasies. Thus the prediction of the traps seller who had diagnosed his “fear of being robbed” is fulfilled.
Oliveira’s fourth feature, adapted from a play by his close friend José Régio, was one of his major breakthroughs as a filmmaker: a fable about a deeply sheltered young woman who tells her wealthy, religious parents that she’s been impregnated in the wake of an angelic visitation. It’s possible to take Benilde, or the Virgin Mother as a scathing denouncement of religious hypocrisy, a veiled response to the abuses of the Salazar regime, or a set of obsessive, carefully staged formal exercises—or some combination of the three.
A phantasmagoric, definition-defying film from perhaps France’s premier underground filmmaker, Treasure of the Bitch Islands begins with the mysterious disappearance of an engineer who has discovered a new energy source, and follows a post-nuclear Ulysses’ voyage to find the substances used in the engineer’s formula, only to be harvested on an island of mad scientists and headhunters.
Hazel runs a beauty salon out of her house, but makes extra money by providing ruthless women to do hit jobs. K.T. is a parasite, and contacts Hazel looking for work when he runs out of money. She is reluctant to use him for a hit, since she prefers using women, but decides to try him on a trial basis. Meanwhile, the local cop she pays off wants an arrest to make it look like he’s actually doing his job, but she doesn’t want to sacrifice any of her “associates.” Several other side plots are woven in, populated with characters from the sleazy side of life.
Young student runs away from a 1984esque dictatorship, lives for a while with a crazy girl in a surrealistic “igloo” in snowy wilderness and then returns with destructive intentions against the oppressive system.
The scene is a pre-French Revolution Bastille, where various political prisoners are being held: a woman who was raped and impregnated by the king, a police chief who was accused of selling bad pork, and the Marquis, who was unjustly accused of working for the overthrow of the king. The Marquis is only interested in writing his deviant stories, while his penis yearns for a little action (they argue about this frequently), the prime candidate being the jailer who likes to be buggered. The corrupt priest arranges to have the pregnant woman raped by the Marquis so they can claim the king had nothing to do with it. The priest also steals the Marquis’ manuscripts and publishes them for his own profit. Things come to a head as the people rise up against the tyranny.
Félix, disguised as Father Christmas, hands out leaflets advertising a sexy Christmas party. His place is taken by an African Santa Claus and he returns to his caravan only to find his girlfriend Josette about to leave him. When he comes after her, she takes refuge at “SOS Distress”, run by two neurotics, Thérèse and Pierre.
After a sojourn in Mexico, undergrad Gnossos Pappadopoulis comes back to his college where, at the close of the 1950s, he partakes in the staples of the burgeoning counterculture movement: drugs, casual sex and radical politics. After Gnossos thumbs his nose at everything from the campus fraternities to the ideas espoused by his professors, he decides to leave school and head for Cuba with a friend. There, he once again struggles with the excesses of his hippie lifestyle.