Camille 2000

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Camille 2000

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From the time when Ingmar Bergman's early films were marketed in America with the promise of nudity until the proliferation of hardcore pornography in the early '70s, the line between the arthouse and the grindhouse remained blurred. No one exploited that blurriness better than director Radley Metzger. With films like Therese And Isabelle and The Lickerish Quartet, Metzger created movies featuring enough skin to satisfy those who showed up to see it, and enough art to win raves from the likes of Andy Warhol, Vincent Canby, and Life magazine. A recent series of reissues has brought a number of Metzger's films back into circulation, including 1969's Camille 2000. Filmed in glorious Technicolor and generous Panavision (preserved here by letterboxing), Camille 2000 updates for the go-go '60s the Dumas story that served as the source for one of Greta Garbo's most famous roles. Nino Castelnuovo, who recently popped up in The English Patient, plays a young man on holiday in Rome, where he becomes entangled in a messy love affair with the stunning Daniele Gaubert. When Gaubert runs hot and cold, Castelnuovo seeks affection elsewhere to gain revenge, not knowing the secret that keeps her from committing herself to him. Camille 2000 resembles the product of some unholy union between Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls-era Russ Meyer and Jean-Luc Godard, with a little Blow-Up thrown in for good measure. If nothing else, the swinging '60s production design—all haute fashion, plastic furniture, blindingly white rooms, and groovy rock music—makes it worth a look. At times, however, that's the only reason to bother. The love story drags on to infinity and betrays Metzger's real talent: capturing the glossy surface of the late-'60s sexual revolution in all its Euro-decadent glory. Still, there's enough of that to make Camille 2000 worth seeing, even if its value as a time capsule outstrips its value as art.

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