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The Birth of Brass
Today Sang Bleu celebrates the birth date of Tinto Brass, the Italian filmmaker famed for his adaptations of erotic literary novels and general public debauchery. With a vast filmography from the 60s to the 00s, Brass has often been branded a pornographer, voyeur, Satanist, erotic genius and master of sex. Today we commemorate all his titles and delve into his most titillating works and the women he choose to be subjected to his loving depravity.
Prior to the success of Salon Kitty (1976) and Caligula (1979), although the latter was edited, against the wishes of the auteur in post-production, Brass had delved into the human sexual psyche with nEROSubianco (1969) an exploration of sexual and racial tensions cumulated by a chance meeting between a housewife and a strapping black man. Dormant desires now released, the lady in question begins to fantasise about the exploration of sexual intimacies. Shot through a series of montages between a real and dream world, similarities have often been made to Bunuel’s L’Age D’or, where the audience bears witness to the female protagonist straddling her consciousness.
With this thoroughly explicit turn from 1980, Brass withstood hauls of critics who could not ‘bare to watch such gynaecological films’ and continued to adapt literary novels with the release The Key (1983) from Kagi by Jun’ichirÅ Tanizaki, The Mistress of the Inn (1985) from the three-act comedy La locandiera by Carlo Goldoni and Paprika (1991) from John Cleland’s 1748 novel, Fanny Hill. With these adaptations Brass continued to work on the sexual cravings of salacious women, who he expresses as either embracing unexplored taboos or awakening loins to carnal mischief. The Key explores the relationship of a couple who seek pure enjoyment out of each bodies. Brass ignores the sexy and instead focuses upon the human condition of passion and fear of guilt.
His love of voluptuous women is only too apparent in All Ladies Do it (1992) a film based on the Mozart/da Ponte opera Così fan tutte focusing on the shapely derriere of the Claudia Koll throughout. Dominating the screen, Koll’s amplified flesh is worshipped beyond measure, with aplomb of abundant charm. On entering her apartment in the first scene, Brass maintains gaze on her backside, zooming in and out, focusing on the structural limits of its mound. Although often deduced to a women’s desire to lose her anal virginity, the film is a veritable shrine to the female posterior, whilst fully exercising his overt obsession.
From large asses to devious virgins, in his later film Monella (1998) Brass reconfigures the power of lust and delves into the world of a young girl who wishes to take control of virginity and lose it before marriage. She attempts to seduce her fiancé, where everything she touches, eats and looks at it in his vicinity becomes a sexual stimulant. ‘A women’s juices are the best disinfectant’ she pleads. In the midst of thick bushes, moist lips, and victims of a catholic upbringing, Brass awakens her fascination with the idea of forbidden love, manifesting in a series of seductive visions.
“No women were ever harmed during the making of my films” He maintained his focus on erotica, as a way to rebel against the hypocrisy of censors. Sex to him was a normal part of life and all of its awkwardness, sensuality and roughness should be celebrated not hidden away. By literally putting ‘two balls and one big cock between the legs of Italian cinema’ Brass’ style though explicit, balances the nuances in relationships between men, women and their fantasies.