Monday, December 09, 2013

SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 10 Reviewed


SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 10
"Every Girl Starts Sometime..."
aka Schulmädchen-report 10. Teil - Irgendwann fängt jede an
1976, Impulse Pictures, 80m 40s, DVD

REVIEWED BY TIM LUCAS

Like all the preceding numbers in Impulse Pictures' releases of the Schoolgirl Report series, this tenth outing is presented in the original German (itself almost always dubbed) with English subtitles. In this case, however, the main titles sequence unreels in English and carries the title SEXY SCHOOLWORK - contrary to the film's earlier dubbed release here on VHS under the title SMARTIE PANTS. Under the direction of Walter Boos, the film attempts to uphold its docudrama pretenses by crediting none of the actors by name.

This time, five different stories are presented as offshoots of a sex education class in an all-girls college. In contrast to the more juvenile or melodramatic nature of the segments themselves, the questions raised in the classroom are surprisingly intelligent and philosophical, proving there was intelligence behind this project if not always within it.


In the first story, related anecdotally by the class professor (Astrid Boner), Dr. Hansel (Reiner Brönneke) is charged with the rape and deflowering of a 17-year old student, Susanne (Bärbel Markus), whom he was tutoring in Latin and English. In a RASHOMON twist, perhaps inspired by Mario Bava's FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT (1972), we see the incident staged according to the accusation, and then Susanne's real lover, her classmate Bert (Claus Obalski), comes forward with the true story, which we also see enacted.


The second story concerns a student in the class itself, Inga (Marianne Dupont), who reminisces internally about how her own sexual awakening compelled her to pursue young men who might deflower her. The first refuses after a heavy petting session because it's a bother; the second actually does it but in a wham-bam dismissive way that leaves her depressed; the third is a young man working in a greenhouse, who is scared off by her aggression; and the fourth, Freddy, turns out to be a wonderful lover... except that afterwards he turns her over to two biker friends for a gangbang. Fleeing the scene of her violation in tears, she meets a gentle and sensitive young man who may be the answer to her quest for genuine love.


The next story has no apparent connection to the framing story and concerns 17 year-old Kathy Dietz (Yvonne Kerstin), who engineers the break-up of her father's second marriage by promising sexual favors to her boyfriend if he succeeds in making love to her stepmother (Karin Lorsin). He succeeds and discovers that the stepmother is really the woman he prefers to be with.


Episode Four zeroes in on an absent student, Seffi (Alexandra Bogojevic), who is very much in love with her boyfriend Karli (Peter Hamm) but they are both miserable because they have no place to sleep together. In a completely outré contrivance, Karli is introduced by a co-worker to William Peter Blatty's novel DER EXORZIST and conceives a wild idea. He proposes to Seffi that she pretend to be possessed by the Devil, so that he can gain entrance to her bedroom in the guise of a Rasputin-like monk named Horace, and make love to her under the guise of an exorcism! Seffi agrees and commences to make faces and expose herself to all the baffled folk in her small village until "Horace" shows up at the local tavern and makes his expertise known. It's the only episode in which the series' zany sense of humor is apparent.




The final segment is about Iris (Gina Janssen), whose happy affair with a wealthy older man, Walter (Paul Glawion), is suddenly cut off. She finds herself pursued by a younger, yet still older man, Franz (Claus Tinney, previously seen in SGR 8), who turns out to be Walter's nephew and hopeful of becoming the new partner in Iris' love life. To his surprise, Iris turns out to be a more substantial young woman than he expected - she has read Dante in the original, no less - and he is still more surprised when she immediately accepts him. Afterwards, he invites her to dinner but she turns the tables by inviting him to eat with her parents - a careworn mother and a drunken father forever complaining about his war wounds ("an inheritance from Adolph"). His reaction to the dinner decides their future and confirms her wisdom.


In the context of its series, SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 10 is something of an oddity. Despite the subtitle (a sexist tweak on the German original's "Everybody Starts Sometime"), only two of the five vignettes are about the loss of virginity. Furthermore, it's not really a film about the "issue" of teenage sex, as the once-political exploitative series set out to be in 1970. The majority of its stories involve relationships between adult partners and unusually mature, theoretical teenagers. It's common in the series for the teenage girls to be smirkingly knowledgeable beyond their years, but all of the young women in this film are indistinguishable from sexually active adults, even when they are pretending to lose their virginity. The EXORCIST-themed episode is a riotous hoot, like nothing else in the series, and its two principals are plainly adult, impossible to confuse for school-aged lovers. The film gains most of its value from its typically attractive and capable cast, but its most successful erotic scenes involve the older characters; it's otherwise flatly directed and shot, with only intermittent moments where the camerawork shows imagination. Gert Wilden's particolored dance score is somewhat more vivid than usual.

Like the original German release of this title, Impulse's 1.66:1 DVD contains more than a half-dozen brief cuts during scenes of sexual activity -- jumps in the music track help us to pinpoint them at 8:40, 18:09, 18:26, 18:30, 25:05, 25:46 (which apparently omits a lengthy gang-rape), 37:46 and 38:15. There may be others. The omissions are not the fault of Impulse and survive as traces of an attempt on the part of the film's producers to jazz the film up with some added explicitness that was reconsidered before the film hit German theaters. An earlier Region 2 release from the Japanese label Mondo Romantic ran only 78m 02s and omitted the gang rape finale of the Inga segment (and its hopeful conclusion) in its entirety, ending her story on the happy note of finding satisfactory sex with Freddy! While Impulse's transfer of this wintertime movie appears mildly noisy and somewhat drably colored, Mondo Romantic's somewhat more colorful transfer was clearly pumped up too much, creating still more surface distortion. Impulse's release, though flawed, therefore embodies the best possible presentation of SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 10 we are likely to see.

Purchase directly from Impulse Pictures here.

(c) 2013 Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.

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