Anchor Bay presents
The Fruits Of Passion: The Story of O Continued (1981)
"You know that through other men, I will be yours only."- O (Isabelle Illiers)
Stars: Klaus Kinski
Other Stars: Isabelle Illiers, Arielle Dombasle
Director: Shuji Terayama
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Explicit sexuality, nudity, adult content)
Run Time: 01h:22m:30s
Release Date: 2000-06-13
Genre: late night
DVD ReviewIn 1974 and 1975, director Just Jaekin delivered two of erotic cinema's landmark films, Emmanuelle (starring Silvia Krystal) and L'histoire d'O (The Story of O). While Emmanuelle celebrated the free spirit of open relationships and the empowerment of Krystal's character to live with complete sexual freedom within a loving relationship, The Story of O delved into the darker side of dominance and submission, with the main character "O" secumbing to a series of degrading and perverse acts to prove her love for her boyfriend René (Udo Kier). In the original film, O is contracted to Sir Stephan, a man who trains women in the ways of submission. Shocking in its time for the graphic presentation of bondage and torture, the film was nonetheless filmed artistically, highlighting the frequent nude and sex scenes with soft filtering and stylistic cinematography.
In 1981 director Shuji Terayama picks up the story as O (Isabelle Illiers) and Sir Stephan (Klaus Kinski - Fitzcaraldo) go to late 1920's Hong Kong, a city fraught with brewing rebellion against English occupation. To complete her pact, and prove her love for Sir Stephan, she must undertake a journey of the utmost sacrifice. She is enslaved in a brothel, where she is subjected to all manor of deviant behaviour, fetishes and perversions, under the supervision and for the pleasure of her lover. Arielle Dombasle plays Nathalie, Sir Stephan's other lover, who is trying to make him choose between herself and O. The story of O's experience is woven against the uprising against the English occupation, with Sir Stephan as a target for the underground who must enlist his assistance in financing their cause. When a young Chinese boy falls in love with O, the fates of all involved are set in motion. This film was based on the novel Return to the Chateau by Pauline Riege, author of the original Story of O.
Terayama contrasts his vibrant and colorful interior brothel shots with the seedy, exterior and slum locations which are primarily presented in drab shades of gray. He also uses colored filters in several scenes to enhance the dissociation and perversion of Sir Stephan's voyeurism. The cinematography is heavily stylized at times, with surrealistic elements like an underwater grand piano or misleading shadows and the frequent use of flashbacks give background to the principle and supporting characters. The visuals are well-crafted, and flow seamlessly. Narrative voice-overs intercut the location dialogue, which is so multilingual it is sometimes hard to tell to which language track you are listening. The original French soundtrack is diffused with English, German and Chinese. Kinski does a good job portraying the decadent Sir Stephan, but Illiers' almost passive portrayal of O leaves a bit to be desired. Supporting characters are fairly exaggerated, such as the flamboyant brothel madam, and several other prostitutes who get passing screen time in minor vignettes.
This film is EXTREMELY sexually graphic (the previous US cut was heavily censored, this version is FULLY restored) and is about as short of an 'X' rating as I can imagine (details on the shoot can be found in Kinski's bio). The lead character O spends the majority of the film naked, though given the situations, I would find it hard to classify this portrayal as erotic. According to the box art, the main character is supposed to discover a world of forbidden pleasures however, the audience may be left with a contrary opinion. Though the film holds up on artistic merits and does invoke a degree of afterthought, it is not an uplifting film in any way. As a succesor to Story Of O it holds up decently, with a similar, yet darker feel.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.66:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Anchor Bay has provided the film uncut in an anamorphic transfer. The film is very dark in style, and a fair amount of fine grain is evident throughout. The source is very clean with few artifacts, though the darkness of the film and the somewhat soft focus lower the grade somewhat. The many visual stylings are well represented. There is no evidence of edge enhancement, and overall the film looks quite good, though not up to the same standards as a modern film. I doubt a better presentation is possible given the age of the film.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is available in French and English two-channel mono, switchable on the fly. The French channel is fuller sounding than the English channel, which is comparatively hollow. Both are reasonable, with some hiss in places, but not inapproprate for a film of this vintage. Dialogue for the most part is clear, but the variety of languages occasionally gets confusing as the viewer is waiting for subtitles when languages switch mid scene. Again, given the limits of the source material, Anchor Bay has done a good job in the audio presentation.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Extras Review: The only extra on the disc is a fairly in-depth biography and filmography for Klaus Kinski, which reveal a few interesting facts about the shooting of this film (like that the sex scenes are real). It also details Kinski's relationship with director Werner Herzog, with whom he made six pictures including Fitzcaraldo and Aguirre: the Wrath of God. There is no information about any of the rest of the cast or crew.
One other non disc extra is the inclusion of the film's one sheet on a heavy card insert, which is a feature I particularly enjoy on many Anchor Bay titles. The back side of the card features the chapter listing.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsFor what it is, the film is quite well done, and is a worthy successor to the original Story Of O. However, due to the graphic nature of the film and the types of behavior depicted, I would warn potential viewers to use their own judgement. Fruits Of Passion is for adults only. If you know the first film, this is similar in content, though more explicit. This is about devient sexual behavior, so be forewarned.
Jeff Ulmer 2000-06-24