After a quick break we kept the nudity going with “Valerie”, which, on top of being way better than we expected, also had a swinging Franco-pop soundtrack. Graeme and Brendan spent much of the film trying to figure out where they’d heard samples of it before. Unfortunately, the copy I had did not have subtitles so it was between only one of us (me) being able to follow the dialogue, or watching the English dub since most of our friends are not bilingual.
Shot in beautiful black and white, the film opens with Valerie (Ouimet) getting reamed out by the strict nuns of her boarding school to which my Fiancé quipped, “Yeah, this isn’t Quebec”. Then, all of a sudden a Canadian style greaser busts into the school on his motorcycle prompting the entire Peanut Gallery to exclaim “Yeah!” Valerie then gets on the bike and drives away with her biker boyfriend. Sadly his voice was not dubbed by The Fonz as Brendan had hoped, but Graeme was able to make the requisite “Spetters!” jokes. From here, Valerie drifts through a variety of occupations including topless Go-Go dancer at Club Super Sex (an actual club in Montreal) and a variety of suitors.
There were multiple remarks regarding the quality of the film, both in terms of Canadian filmmaking of the time, and in general, as well as compared to the previous film. Someone pointed out that it actually had a lot more plot than “The Lickerish Quartet”, however all of the plot had to do with Danielle Ouimet taking her top off. The other thing that was most striking were the hardcore nationalist overtones. “Valerie” was made towards the end of “the quiet revolution” and while still providing ample boobie, it is also an accomplished examination of the changing face of Quebecois society. However, the ending, with it’s focus on family values and multiple shots of the provincial flag, also reinforces the importance of national identity and specifically Catholic identity.
Just as the film was almost over, the D.o.S.’s very own francophone Andrea showed up and bitched us out for watching the dubbed version. We then had to rewind the film so that she could see “the worst dress in cinema history” and the awful charcoal drawing that Valerie’s artist boyfriend does of her that makes her look like a guy.
Rumblings from the Peanut Gallery: Brendan, rather uncharacteristically, summed up the night quite astutely by saying it went “from fluff to stuff”. I’m still deciding whether I can forgive him for rhyming, but being that it’s taken me this long to get the column done I think I can forgive him. BJ and Graeme decided that “The Lickerish Quartet would have been much better if the porno star girl hadn’t actually put out and we all agreed that if Ice Cube were in the film he would need to play the father. However, the best thing about “The Lickerish Quartet” was watching the trailer included on the DVD. The unending superfluous praise heaped on this movie by every film critic working in 1974 was enough to reduce us all to tears. I for one would like to look up New York Times critic Vincent Canby and ask him what exactly he meant by “…fruitily beautiful”. Corinne concluded that the film was “um, profound?…”, whereas Brendan preferred the more pointed “self absorbed wanking”.
All in all, another successful night, and I look forward to screening the flip side to “Valerie”, “L’Initiation” at some point in the future.
Next week, animals gone crazy: “Orca” & “Grizzly”.
Mariko McDonald and her fiancé host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.
And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>