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Delta Of Venus
cast: Audie England, Costas Mandylor, Eric Da Silva, Raven Snow, and Rory Campbell

director: Zalman King

100 minutes (18) 1995
widescreen ratio 16:9
EV DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Thomas Cropper
Delta Of Venus: one writer's search for the secret place that exists within all women. A journey of sexual, emotional and psychological exploration set against the background of the Second World War. Sounds good in theory doesn't it? There's only one problem - it's bollocks.
   We're in pre-war France for this one. The Nazis are on their way, but that's not worrying Elena (Audie England) who has come to Paris to write. However, she's not having much luck until she meets a famous writer, Lawrence (Costas Mandylor) at a party. They go back to her place at which point he jumps on her bed and falls fast asleep.
   'Bloody typical,' cry all the women in the audience. For the rest of the first act they enjoy a series of love scenes worthy of a late night Channel Five movie until, inevitably, she catches him up to no good in the arms of another. It's now that her journey really begins. Rejected by Lawrence, and seemingly unable to sell her work, things look bad, but when a mysterious buyer contacts her publisher offering to pay for erotic fiction it's the excuse she needs to head off into the seedier underworld of Paris.
   And it is here that the plot parts company with reality for good and delves into the realms of cheap soft porn. Their version of an opium den is pretty much along the lines of a 13-year-old's wet dream. I've never been to an opium den before in my life, but I'm guessing you're more likely to find a group of comatose hippies admiring the weave pattern of the carpet than the lesbian orgy this movie portrays.
   But at that point, and not before time, the Nazis turn up. Everyone is packing up for war, Paris is being bombed and Nazi sympathisers are loose in street. Reluctantly the plot gears up to some sort of conclusion. Lawrence turns up again and we can finally tie up all the loose ends, get out of our seats and go home.
   Some films are so bad they become good. Movies like Striptease or Showgirls are so nail-bitingly terrible that they attract a strange kind of cult following out of pure sympathy. This is not one of those movies. Had it been the kind of film that knew its place, it might feel different. Perhaps it would be easier to be charitable, but this film is puffed up with so much self-importance that it's impossible to feel any kind of sympathy for anyone involved. The characters are wooden, the dialogue stilted and even the sex scenes have all the erotic appeal of Ikea furniture. The film is filled with writers who can't write, singers who can't sing and artists who can't paint. Perhaps the writers based them on people they knew.

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