PAULA-PAULA is the first film that Jess Franco has done in years which could be called reasonably tasteful. In it there are no mute nymphos urinating into cooking bowls or female vampires staked with dildos. In fact, there's very little of any substance, trashy or otherwise, in PAULA-PAULA. Running time is around an hour. Those familiar with JF's latest films may consider that a blessing. Sure, nudity is present, as is his 'trademark' slow-motion erotica. But delicious Gulda music and some great use of colour and light sort of make up for the overall inertia of the piece.
SCENES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT:
Well, I'd cut everything past the opening quarter of an hour.
All the points have been made by then, the rest is just hallucinatory flab.
Wouldn't it be bold - Jess returning to short film-making?
But that's just wishful thinking on my part.
What doesn't work:
-the whole film. People who are used to perceive cinema as a sort of a coherent story that can be followed would be enormously frustrated by PAULA-PAULA. There's little excitement to be had (unless from some magnificent jazz) from it. No sense of progression at all to the whole thing. But then, again, chances of normal film fans seeing or even being aware of PAULA-PAULA are, frankly, nil.
PAULA-PAULA is not the film I would like Franco to have made.
His recent output has invariably been of plotless slow-motion lesbian feasts variety.
PAULA-PAULA, despite its undeniable artistic merit and aesthetic superiority to most of Franco's recent productions also does settle into cliched sex routine.It would have been a true miracle to see Jess have a go at making something a bit more traditional and accessible these days. Just one more substantial film. Let it be dirt-cheap and out-of-focus, but with story that extends beyond two females on a couch. Will that happen? Technically, it's possible, as the 80-year-old cinemaniac is currently preparing new projects...
-Lina Romay keeping her clothes on. Nice one, Jess! Cool idea to use her just as an actress and not a fetish, for once.
-'JF touch' - flaunting conventions.
Is PAULA-PAULA any good? -As a 'proper' film, no.