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Max Pécas (1925 - 2003)
"Max Pécas est au cinéma comique ce qu' Ed Wood est au cinéma de science fiction..." --Tim Burton
Related: erotic movies - softcore - French cinema - French erotica
Worked with: Sandra Julien - Janine Reynaud - Claude Mulot
Cultural export: to USA, via Radley Metzger
Max Pécas was a French movie-maker, scenario writer and producer. He was born 25 April 1925 in Lyon and died 10 February 2003 in Paris.
After making erotic movies and some thrillers, he shoots teenage comedies, including his classic "Saint-Tropez series". His filmography is considered as models of camp B-movies.
Some of Max Pécas's softcore films were imported to the U.S. by Radley Metzger. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_P%C3%A9cas [Dec 2005]
Two directors, Max Pécas and José Bénazéraf, were the most prolific of the French sex cinema wave of the 1960s. Influential to their peers while making the most thoughtful and visually stunning films. Both men produced astonishingly lush films which managed to walk the tightrope between the suggestive and the explicit. Pecas had a forte for mentally provocative films like The Fourth Sex and Her and She and Him. Complexly entangled affairs that involved everything from not so innocent young lovers to homosexual machiavellianism . Benazeraf recasted film noir genres into sexy sadomasochistic mis en scenes like Sexus. Sexus featured a sassy topless whip dance sequence which became emblazoned in the mind of many a fetishist and went on to be preserved in numerous international sex in the cinema books.
Benazeraf's and Pecas' French softcore films were imported to the U.S. by Radley Metzger (known to hardcore afficionados as Henry Paris) and his partner, Ava Leighton, through their company, Audubon Films. Radley would slightly recut and retrim his French imports for American tastes. He then mimicked the style of Pecas and Benzeraf and brought it home to America with his own highly successful softcore movies like Carmen Baby and The Lickerish Quartet. --Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford, http://www.alphabluearchives.com/euro.html [Jun 2004]
METZGER: He[Max Pécas]'s got, oddly enough, the best cinematographer in France, Jean Lefebvre [editor's note: Robert Lefebvre]. The only person he seems to want to work for is Max. Even with a small budget, Max gets a beautiful picture on the screen. Her and She and Him is exquisite - with just three or four lights. He always has a rich, rich looking picture. --Radley Metger interviewed by Richard Corliss in Film Comment, January 1973 via http://www.vidmarc.demon.co.uk/mondo-erotico/metzger/interviews/aristo1.html [Nov 2004]
Casque d'or (1952) Faibles femmes (1959) "Aventures de Tom Sawyer, Les" (1968) (mini) ( Édouard et Caroline (1950) Cela s'appelle l'aurore (1955) Blé en herbe, Le (1954) Dernier des six, Le (1941) Affaire Maurizius, L' (1954) Marie-Octobre (1959) Porte des Lilas (1957) --http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0498901/filmorate [Dec 2004]
Radley Metzger [...]
CORLISS: Max Pecas directed the two Elke Sommer films, and several of your later pictures: Erotic Touch of Hot Skin and Her & She & Him among them.
METZGER: He's got, oddly enough, the best cinematographer in France, Jean Lefebvre. The only person he seems to want to work for is Max. Even with a small budget, Max gets a beautiful picture on the screen. Her and She and Him is exquisite - with just three or four lights. He always has a rich, rich looking picture.
CORLISS: He also specializes in opulent-looking actresses.
METZGER: Agreed. I thought Fabienne Dali, in Erotic Touch, was dynamite. I cast her in The Alley Cats - but she never showed up. --Radley Metger interviewed by Richard Corliss in Film Comment, January 1973 via http://www.vidmarc.demon.co.uk/mondo-erotico/metzger/interviews/aristo1.html [Nov 2004]
Mary Mendum [...]
Douce violence/Sweet Ecstasy (1962) - Max Pécas
Douce violence/Sweet Ecstasy (1962) - Max Pécas [Amazon.com]
Just to watch a very young, sexy Elke Sommer with her pouting lips makes Sweet Ecstasy worthwhile. The dramatics of Elke's exploitative character as a swinger on the French Riveria is interesting and charming. For most of the movie, Elke Sommer prances about in a skimpy top and revealing hip-hugger pants that enhances her animalistic sexuality. The real kicker that makes Sweet Ecstasy so sweet, however, is the love scene with Elke on the deck of the yacht. Elke absolutely sizzles in a very hot, very real, and very graphic display of young torrid love. This is a must own video. --Frank Massey via amazon.com
In the spirit of the old-fashioned "square-up" reels of early exploitation films, most of the sexy exposés of the early 60s, from Fellini to HG Lewis, presented -- at least superficially -- a morally critical, jaundiced view of the decadence they so willingly displayed. However, the doom-laden view of the wanton lifestyle in Sweet Ecstasy so overwhelmingly permeates the movie that it becomes little more than a depressing experience. Pecas never had the style or brashness of Benazeraf or Metzger, who dealt with similar themes. Elke Sommer, boosted as a Bardot clone, looks stunning and iconic, but completely lacks the charm and freebooting personality of her rival. And the big-band jazz music by Aznavour, with a few ditties by Halliday, now seem totally "square" next to the playful cocktail stylings of Chet Baker et al during the same period. Quite disappointing; the same team's Daniella by Night holds up a lot better thanks to its kitschiness. --goblinhairedguy via imdb.com, 2004
Je suis frigide... pourquoi?/I Am Frigid...Why? (1972) - Max Pécas
Je suis frigide... pourquoi?/I Am Frigid...Why? (1972)
After Doris, the 18-year-old daughter of the gardener on the luxurious Chambon Estate, is raped by the Chambons 20-year-old son Eric, she is sent away to a boarding school to hush up the ensuing scandal. Although Doris enjoys a fling with a female classmate and falls for a young actor during her first visit to Paris, she is still unable to forget the traumatic event of her past. Soon she befriends an older woman who runs a high-end prostitution ring, and before long Doris is satisfying her kinky customers, one of whom turns out to be Eric's father, Monsieur Chambon, A confrontation with Eric is inevitable.
Les Mille et une Perversions de Félicia/Felicia (1974) - Max Pecas
Béatrice Harnois in Les Milles et une perversions de Felicia
Directed by Max Pecas. Fans of sexy films (and of L'Image star Rebecca Brooke) are in luck, with this opportunity to see Brooke and wildly sexy Christine Alberola in their DVD quality glory in Pecas' engagingly twisted drama of a young woman staying with family friends who insinuates herself into their emotional lives, and their bed. We've learned a lot by studying this uniform Spanish DVD edition of original (soft) Pecas' later sexploitation films. When both "hard" and "soft" version of films exist, it's easy to assume the film was made as XXX, and then censored, but for European 1970s sex films, that's often not the case at all. Pecas' FELICIA and EVERYBODY'S, Sarno's BUTTERFLIES and Wickman's ANITA are all examples of films made primarily as highly polished "soft" films that were crudely re-worked for American (and sometimes German) XXX release. In Europe there were mainstream commercial venues for artistic soft-x in the early 1970s, whereas America had a two tier system of regular movie theatres and adults only theatres. When ANITA came out in 1973 it was too provocative for regular theatres, but the US adult theatres were already showing only XXX films, so the real ANITA couldn't have played anywhere in the US. Similarly, FELICIA was envisioned primarily as a handsome soft-X film, but throughout the production, some XXX sequences were shot to be incorporated into a separate porn-theatre release. The porn version is good, but disjointed, with an odd mix of beautiful production values and haphazardly photographed shots. Now we know why! The XXX shots were done at the same time, but without much artistic care as to lighting quality, composition, etc. This original (soft-x) FELICIA is a completely different movie, with much different material, and much of it in different order. This is plainly how the film was intended to be, since the story makes more sense emotionally and normatively. The ideal version would be somewhere in between the two, but the world is what it is. Actors: Christine Alberola, Rebecca Brooke, Roland Charbaux, Nicole Daudet, Béatrice Harnois, Eva Khris, Stéphane Maury, Mary Mendum.
Felicia is one of Max Pecas' best movies. A happily married couple have their friend's pouty teenage daughter over for a few weeks in the summer. The girl teases, peeks, interrupts and taunts, and seduces. It's beautifully photographed and executed, hardcore but tasteful. Rebecca Brooke (Mary Mendum) and Beatrice Harnois are excellently ast. --sleazoid_expres via http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073390/ [Dec 2004]
Je suis une nymphomane (1970) - Max Pécas
Sandra Julien in Je suis une nymphomane (1970) - Max Pécas [Amazon UK]
UK TV viewers will be familiar with the 'Eurotika!' name from the late night show of the same name. Now, the same folk that brought us the great Pagan line of DVD's have launched the 'Eurotika!' collection.
First up is Max Pecas' 'I Am A Nymphomaniac', the unintentionally amusing tale of a young girl called Carole (played by the lovely Sandra Jullien), who leads a boring life with a boring job and a boring boyfriend. One day, distracted by a passing mysterious handsome stranger, she falls down a lift shaft and when she comes round - she finds she has become... a nymphomaniac !! --http://www.sexgoremutants.f9.co.uk/nympho.html [Dec 2005]
Pagan films, most notable for being the brain child of euro-sex and horror historian and aficionado Pete Tombs delivers not only an above par presentation on this disc, but also some titillating extras as well. The widescreen presentation is complimented with a 23 minute Channel 4 Eurotika! interview with the director, a stills gallery, optional French/English language choice, and a text interview with Sandra Jullien. --http://www.shockingimages.com/index.php?goto=reviews/dvd/i/iamanymphomaniac_dvd [Dec 2005]
Starring: Sandra Julien - Janine Reynaud
Written by: Claude Mulot
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