REVIEW: DVD Release: Good Little Girls

Film: Good Little Girls
Release date: 28th June 2010
Certificate: 18
Running time: 85 mins
Director: Jean-Claude Roy
Starring: Jessica Dorn, Marie-Georges Pascal, Cathy Reghin, Sylvie Lafontaine, Michèle Girardon
Genre: Erotica/Comedy
Studio: Naughty/Nucleus
Format: DVD
Country: France

John Claude Roy’s 1972 erotic film, being released on DVD for the first time, is a light-hearted coming of age story set in rural France and focusing on the sexual awakening and exploration of a group of teenage girls.

Good Little Girls focuses on an upper class family, Madame de Fleurville and her daughters Camille and Madeline. Madame de Fleurville hosts a TV sexual education show, and is clearly an open minded mother, who invites celebrities and socialites round to the family dinner table in order to progress her daughters’ understanding of the world, both politically and sexually, and encourages them to read from their late father’s collection of books. One of these books, ‘The Story of O’ particularly attracts the girls attention with its depictions of bondage and sexual humiliation, and so begins a period of experimentation in the girls’ previously innocent lives.

When the girls rescue Madame de Rosenbourg and her daughter Marguerite from a car accident, the two come to live with the family, and it becomes apparent that Marguerite shares the girls’ new found interest in sexuality, thus beginning a summer of garden parties, boys and many visits from the family’s virile doctor…

The opening credits of Good Little Girls is a classic example of 1970s European erotica, in both its playful animation and music - the same music that highlights many of the films more comic moments. Unfortunately, these opening credits and the film’s soundtrack are about the only positives that can be taken from the experience of watching this film.

Clearly we are not dealing with a film that is to be taken seriously, even aspects that could be dealt with somewhat more solemnly, such as a possibly psychopathic neighbour who enjoys pain on account of the whippings she has receives from her abusive stepmother, are laughed off as simply another crazy sexual experience. However, the film’s light-hearted tone is by no means the main area of complaint, this is after all erotica we are dealing with, traditionally not a genre that lends itself to extended periods of dramatic reflection.

The problem with Good Little Girls is that the story seems to drift from one pointless sexual experiment to another, making the voice-over narration and title cards between scenes seem almost comically redundant. There is no explanation as to why the girls decide to, for example, tie their new house guest up and then release her when she becomes uncomfortable, and there is little or no consequence either internally or externally of them having done so. In one moment, Marguerite is lamenting the lack of ‘boys’ in the house, in the next a group of vacant, statuesque men in pants have appeared in the garden. We do not know where these men come from, who they are, or where they keep the rest of their clothes. There is no attempt to portray any kind of inter-relationships in the group as the men are happy to enjoy alone time with any one of the girls, and the girls don’t seem to care very much which one of the men they end up with.

Things are no more logical in the adult characters, as the possibility of a love triangle between Madame de Fleurville, Madame de Rosenbourg and the family doctor is laughed off as quickly as it is raised, as the doctor proceeds to have sex with just about every woman in the house in the space of one evening, even having to rely on some kind of love potion that the housemaid brews in order that he may continue.

Of course, in the realm of erotica, narrative development is never at the forefront, but with so little to excite the viewer in Good Little girls, the fact that there is no real storyline means that the film becomes very tiresome very quickly. Attempts at drama are never edgy, attempts as humour are never very funny, and attempts to follow who is who, who is sleeping with who and why are likely to leave the viewer as dizzy and confused as they are bored.

The only area where the film gains any kind of points is aesthetically, the characters are, for the most part, incredibly beautiful, and the costume and set designs are likely to resonate well with viewers with an interest in fashion.

Some will take enjoyment in the tacky nostalgia of the whole affair an in this sense it is as typical an example of 1970s French erotica are you are likely to see. However, the style and glamour with which Good Little Girls is put together does not excuse the sheer lack of plot or interest that is contained within.

A relic of a bygone era that may be enjoyed by some as a silly reminder of 1970s European erotica, but should be avoided by anyone who does not wish to have 85 minutes of their life wasted. PK

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