Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

An ‘Eroticist’ is apparently what famous or infamous film director Tinto Brass is, with Eroticist being a brand new word for me. How exactly does one become an Eroticist because I would really like to apply for that gig. The movies of Mr. Brass that I have seen have spanned the decades. I saw ‘Caligula’ not long ago, made way back 1979 which I’m not sure Tinto Brass is even claiming as his, I saw his lighthearted farce ‘Miranda’ made in 1985, There was ‘Cheeky’ made in 2000 which I had no clue as to watch I was watching and now we have ‘Paprika’ made in 1991. Now I don’t really understand Tinto Brass and what he is doing in his movies most of the time, but he does possess a definitive style and I do know that he likes the female ass because, and I quote Tinto Brass here, ‘The Ass Doesn’t Lie’. You’re going to have to ask him to explain that one to you.

Mimma, as played by the physically gifted Deborah Caprioglio, is your typical over developed 1950’s era Italian eighteen year old woman who just wants to make her fiancée Nino happy. To that end Nino and Mimma have agreed that Mimma will work a couple of weeks a the local brothel run by Madame Colette (Martine Brochard) so Nino can get his business off the ground and the two can be married. While this arrangement may seems suspect us, Mimma, soon renamed Paprika by our madam due to her spicy ass (not my words), seems completely fine with it. It helps that Paprika has a pretty high sex drive considering this woman got turned on during her gynecological exam, which I’m thinking is pretty rare, even though I’m not a woman and cannot verify this.

Nina’s first lucky is customer is the strapping Franco (Stephane Bonnet) who Paprika has a helluva time with, and is advised by her boss that she probably should tone this libido of hers down a bit if she wants to make it through these two weeks. As it turns out Paprika is a hit. A natural so to speak, and she discovers Nino to be who we thought he was which leads to these two weeks as a prostitute turning into years for young Paprika which will lead her to all kinds of adventures. While traveling Europe showing off her ample goods Paprika will encounter brutal pimps, freaky princes, Madam’s with bath fetishes, wealthy counts, Franco yet again, and all kinds of perverse individuals as the age of the brothel during this reflective time in the life of Director Tinto Brass is coming to its unfortunate end.

I said it before but I don’t really ‘get’ Tinto Brass movies. This is one of the reasons whenever I watch a Brass film I make it a point to watch the DVD extras and the director’s commentary when available to hear exactly what my man was trying to say or what message his attempting to get across. Unfortunately for me, listening to Tinto Brass describe his work is usually more confusing than actually watching his work. On one hand I suppose Mr. Brass is painting a love story to an era that I have no doubt that he partook in, liberally, considering he would’ve been a young man during this most liberal time in his country. So taking this into consideration it is also clear to us that Paprika, her workmates and their clients are all given fair treatment and no judgment is passed on them for the most part. Of course this is a Tinto Brass movie and as such there are naked women on display. Constantly. Incessantly. In fact on the rare occasion that a woman was wearing clothes in this movie, these scenes proved a bit more erotic since these scenes were relatively few and far between. While displaying the different angles at which he can film a woman’s behind seems to be the director’s preference there were all kind of… let’s just say imagery… for us to absorb and examine in this near technically flawless film of his.

Good looking movie, great looking women wearing no clothes in this good looking period piece, but how is it as a work of cinematic art? This is probably open to interpretation but it’s looking fairly vacuous to me. For the most part we just follow Paprika from one sexual encounter in a fabulously designed set to the next, and then to the next and then to the next. As a character she’s no different from the girl we saw knocking on the door of the brothel as eighteen year old than she was as a fully experienced worldly woman, a woman who through a rather nutty set of circumstances has become a wealthy countess as the movie closes out. Considering this film runs at close to two hours, despite the fact looking at Deborah Capriolglio naked can’t really get old, it got old. There’s really nothing here except naked women and beautiful photography.

Hard to believe but yeah, I think I need a little bit than that Mr. Brass. ‘Paprika’ has its merits, no doubt about that, but because of its length and its lack of any kind of substantive story it is a difficult movie to make it through. Kind of. Maybe not. It does have a lot of naked women in it. A lot.

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