Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 26th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / Yugoslavia, 1976
Director: Miklós Jancsó
Writers: Miklós Jancsó, Giovanna Gagliardo
Cast: Lajos Balázsovits, Pamela Villoresi, Franco Branciaroli, Teresa Ann Savoy, Laura Betti, Ivica Pajer
BluRay released: November 8th, 2016
Approximate running times: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
BluRay Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A decadent prince refuses to conform to his father’s idea of how a future king should. Will the prince succeed in his need to be his own man or will he eventually pay the price not following tradition?
Private Vices, Public Pleasures co-written and directed by Miklós Jancsó who’s other notable films include, The Red and the White, The Round-Up and Silence and Cry. Key collaborators on Private Vices, Public Pleasures include, screenwriter Giovanna Gagliardo (The Pacifist, Suffocating Heat), cinematographer Tomislav Pinter (Rondo, The Battle on the River Neretva) and composer Francesco De Masi (The Inglorious Bastards, The New York Ripper).
Revolutions are not limited to politics and in the 1970’s sexuality in cinema was having its own revolution. With the rise of hard core sex films and the proliferation soft core erotica films being allowed more freedom due to a relaxing of what could be shown in cinemas for public consumption. So, it should not come as a surprise that a filmmaker like Miklós Jancsó would fuse his political ideologies with sexuality.
Though the foundation for Private Vices, Public Pleasures starts with a real-life event known as Mayerling Incident. The way in which the events unfold in this film, they are far removed from any semblance of reality. Fortunately, this disassociation with reality makes this moment of truth all the more potent.
From a production standpoint director Miklós Jancsó is in a class all his own. He uses cinema techniques that are wholly his own and it is safe to say his style would be very difficult to mimic. And without a doubt this film’s greatest assets are its visuals which do a remarkable capturing the essence of this film. With this film’s standout, visual motif being the moments when characters wear a mask of the emperor’s face. And it is symbolism like this that play key role is understanding this film is ultimately trying to say.
Not to be overlooked are the cast and their inhibition free performances. This film’s standout performance is Lajos Balázsovits (Milarepa) in the role of the Crown Prince Rudolf. Other notable performances include, Laura Betti (Hatchet for the Honeymoon) in the role the woman who took care of Prince Rudolf when he was a young boy and Pamela Villoresi (The Bankers of God: The Calvi Affair) in the role of Sofia, Prince Rudolf’s step sister and woman he loves.
When it comes to sex in cinema no matter how far the boundaries are pushed. There are always going to be film’s like Private Vices, Public Pleasures that shock even the most jaded person.
Private Vices, Public Pleasures comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This is another solid transfer from Mondo Macabro that does a superb job retaining a film like look. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels remain strong, details look crisp and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in Italian and a LPCM mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are in very good shape. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Range though things tend to sound rather limited. This is not the type of the film that is expected to have a robust soundscape. It is ambience driven film and in this regards these two audio mixes deliver in spades. Included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 58 seconds), an interview with Film Historian Michael Brooke (16 minutes 32 seconds), an interview with screenwriter Giovanna Gagliardo (30 minutes 48 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with actress Pamela Villoresi (19 minutes 14 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and the Mondo Macabro trailer reel.
Topics discussed in the interview with Michael Brooke. Include, reoccurring themes and visuals techniques often used by Miklós Jancsó. Besides these two topics this extra does a superb job giving a well-rounded overview of Miklós Jancsó’s films.
Topics discussed in the interview with Giovanna Gagliardo include, how the film is loosely based on the Mayerling Incident, how the film is essentially a black fairy tale, how many scenes were re-written on set during production, working with Miklós Jancsó, rehearsals, visuals and long takes (some takes as long as ten minutes), info about the main location featured in the film, the cast & information about them, the Cannes Film festival and reaction to the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Pamela Villoresi include, the importance of this film to her career as an actress, the cast & information about them, shooting nudity then verse now, her thoughts about the film, on set memories and the key understanding Private Vices, Public Pleasures.
Overall another exceptional release from Mondo Macabro who’s track record of bringing cinema oddities back into the spotlight is second to none.