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Justine’s Hot Nights 
Written by: on June 25th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: France, July, 1976
Director: Jean-Claude Roy (credited as Patrick Aubin)
Writer: Jean-Claude Roy (credited as Patrick Aubin) and Christian Feucherolles
Cast: Philippe Gasté, Michèle Barton, Nadia Kapler, Jacques Bernard, Jean Montagné

DVD released: June 15th, 2009
Approximate running time: 76 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:66:1 anamorphic widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French
Subtitles: English (Removable)
DVD Release: Naughty DVD
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99

Synopsis: Mik Farez is a filmmaker who, after a string a box office flops and dead-end projects, is desperate for work. Begrudgingly, he accepts an offer to direct a porno movie but is given just 24 hours to deliver a screenplay. Bereft of ideas, Mik enlists the help of his thespian wife Nina to come up with some steamy scenarios and, upon returning from an evening at the theatre, the couple indulge in a soapy sex session that triggers their imaginations. Both enamored by a young actress they just saw on-stage called Justine, Mik and Nina fantasies a series of erotic escapades involving her. A bizarre and amusing range of vignettes featuring catholic priests, send-ups of EMMANUELLE and LAST TANGO IN PARIS, Secretary of State President Henry Kissinger, mermaids, and an ape, are strung together with some creative animated flourishes and a reckless sense of humor which simultaneously obeys and lampoons the dynamics of adult cinema.

Co-written and directed by Jean-Claude Roy under his regular pseudonym Patrick Aubin, JUSTINE’S HOT NIGHTS is a frequently amusing sex comedy due to likable performances, low-budget ingenuity, and the constant satirizing of the adult film industry which, ultimately, refers to the genre itself. Recalling Martin Campbell’s ESKIMO NELL – which poked fun at British exploitation cinema of the same period – Roy’s picture takes several good-natured yet self-depreciating jabs at the behind the scenes mechanisms involved in filmmaking: the ‘serious’ director forced to make porno movies, the crude catch-penny producer looking for the next luridly sensationalist angle, and actors who look down at what they see as pornographic exploitation, yet are willing to be involved in much the same material when it is considered artfully tasteful. The narrative is scrappy with some segments working better than others (the catholic priest sketch runs longer than it should), but at a brisk 76 minutes the pacing is compact and overall the vignettes rarely outstay their welcome.

Unashamed of its less-than-modest production values, one of the film’s strengths is that it uses its budgetary limitations to an advantage by adding an anarchic touch to the proceedings. Most notable is during the EMMANUELLE segment, in which Mik imagines Nina as an air hostess, the actress simply stands in front of a giant black and white photograph of an airplanes interior! With the fantasy element in the plot line, such devices suit the humor of JUSTINE’S HOT NIGHTS, but it should be noted that the cast play a major part in the picture’s success. Philippe Gasté – who appeared in many of Jean-François Davy’s films as well as Jean Rollin’s REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE – is an agreeable leading man, while Michèle Barton (as his wife) and Nadia Kapler (as the title character) lend solid support. Their deadpan performing of the gags is essential to much of the comedy succeeding, such as when Nina is offered a role in which she would appear in bed with a German Shepard, her husband Mik wryly responds “It must be a co-production”.

The DVD:

Like their SCANDALOUS PHOTOS disc, Naughty DVD presents JUSTINE’S HOT NIGHTS at its original aspect ratio of 1:66:1 and is windowboxed for anamorphic enhancement. While the image is far from perfect as there are instances of occasional dirt, debris and scratches, the image quality is an improvement over the previous disc’s transfer and is generally more agreeable. Based on the company’s track record, if better elements were available for this release Naughty no doubt would have made the extra effort to track them down.

The audio contains the original Mono mix of the French language soundtrack. The imperfection of the image quality is reflected in the sound – there are moments of hiss and mild damage – but none of these flaws are significant enough to distract from the viewing experience.

Removable English subtitles, colored yellow, have been included with this DVD. They seem to be well translated and are very readable.

The extras are limited to a trailer which, rather than being from the film’s original theatrical run, has been created for this DVD release. There are also trailers for HOUSE OF LEGS and other Jean-Claude Roy films released by Naughty: EDUCATION ANGLAIS, DRESSAGE and SCANDALOUS PHOTOS.

Good-natured and often very saucy, JUSTINE’S HOT NIGHTS ranks alongside ESKIMO NELL as an entertaining sex comedy that wickedly lampoons the adult film genre. It is great to have the film available uncut, in its original aspect ratio and with English subtitles. Recommended.

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