Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 11th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 2010
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Paula Davis, Carmen Montes, Lina Romay
DVD released: February 8th, 2011
Approximate running time: 67 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
DVD Release: Intervision Picture Corp.
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A young woman becomes the main suspect in a murder case involving her lover.
Even though his output has slowed down in recent years. At eighty years old Jess Franco continues to crank out a new film every few years. And with a filmography that has just over two hundred films. He has made more than his fare share of mediocre films. And yet on the flip side. He has made just as many diamonds in the rough waiting to be discovered. Over the last three decades there has been an inconsistency to the overall quality of the films that he has made. With only a few instances over the last three decades. Where a film has emerged that reminds us hardcore fans of Jess Franco. Why we find his films so endearing.
For his most recent cinematic output Paula-Paula which he bills as a ‘audio-visual experience’. Jess Franco once again returns to familiar ground. With a murder mystery revolving around two women. Both named Paula. Structurally the anemic plot is loosely held together by two main sequences. A scene in which the two Paula’s dance for each other. And another scene in which the two lesbian lovers make love. Besides these two lengthy sequences. There is very little that happens in this film. The film’s opening which gives a rough explanation about what has just happened. After this opening set up. Outside of a few minor dialog exchanges. The remainder of the film plays out as a series of images from the two aforementioned lengthy sequences. These scenes are accompanied by jazz infused score that was composed by Friedrich Gulda, who also scored Jess Franco’s Succubus.
Trying to judge the performances of cast is not an easy task. Since they are given very little to do and their lack of back-story makes it impossible to care about what happens to them. And once again Lina Romay (Lorna The Exorcist) has been given a secondary throw away part. That feels so far removed from what she is able to do as an actress. Overall is Paula-Paula a good film? No, but then it is also from removed from what most cinema enthusiasts would consider a conventional film. To put it simple this is not the type of that you should recommend to just anyone. Jess Franco has always been a filmmaker willing to go against the grain and the majority of his film’s are an acquired taste.
Intervision Picture Corp. presents Paula-Paula in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a clean looking transfer. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Details generally look crisp. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement while present, it is never too intrusive. In all considering the source material’s used for this transfer. Things look pretty good.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Spanish. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles. It should be noted that the subtitles have a few grammatical errors.
Extras for this release consist of three interviews with Jess Franco. In the first interview Jess Franco gives an introduction for the film (1 minute 25 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, In Spanish with English subtitles). The second interview Jess Franco discusses contemporary cinema (17 minutes 45 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Spanish with English subtitles). And for the third interview Jess Franco discusses Paula-Paula in depth (8 minutes 32 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Spanish with English subtitles). There is plenty of interesting information to be gleaned from these three interview segments. Overall Intervision Picture Corp. gives Paula-Paula a well rounded DVD release.