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July 10, 2011

Movie Review: Violence and Flesh

Violence and Flesh (1981)

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Pornochanchada, anyone ever heard of it? And no, it is not a new foreign dance move a la the "macarena". Still don't know? Well dear reader, Pornochanchada was a film genre in Brazil between 1976-1984. Erotic films were made in Brazil during a time of political dictatorship that gave filmmakers complete freedom and void of any censorship as long as political issues were not mentioned. Hundreds of these erotic features were made with support from the government and became big box office successes, how bizarre is that! Pornochanchada films are filled to the brim with excessive nudity and way over the top sexuality. Pornochanchada attracted mainstream Brazilian actresses and directors, certainly a factor in the films success. Imagine seeing a Pornochanchada film today directed by Steven Spielberg with a nude Scarlet Johansson performing sleazy acts throughout the duration of the film. That would never happen but you can see why the movies were box office gold. All good things come to an end, such was the fate for the Pornochanchada genre. VHS blasted onto the market in the mid 80's, thus making hardcore pornography readily available. With that boom and the end of the Brazilian dictatorship, Pornochanchada films heavily decreased in popularity. The genre died, but thanks to Synapse/Impulse Pictures they're back!

If you hadn't guessed, Violence and Flesh (Violencia na Carne) is a Pornochanchada film. Considered to be one of the most over the top of the genre, I can't say I disagree with that. The film starts off with our antagonists, three criminals freshly escaped from prison and on the run. The trio dig up a suitcase full of stolen money and decide to split it amongst themselves. They talk of a fourth man, Zecao, who was supposed to get a cut of the cash but died of a heart attack off-screen shortly before. To cover up their tracks and any evidence, they kill their driver and torch the getaway car. Not to exaggerate, but this scene lasts forever. There are multi-angled shots of the car burning and it lasts for several minutes. After a while I started laughing, didn't realize burning cars in Brazil was so dramatic. Down the road from this scene at a beach house we meet lesbian lovers Ana and Sandra, also their homosexual roommate Fabio. They are waiting for their theater friends (two of whom we see have sex earlier) for a play rehearsal. Sandra begins to tell Ana and Fabio that she is nervous about telling her family and friends she is lesbian because they believe it is a sin and should be met with punishment. Sandra and Fabio shrug it off as nonsense and that she shouldn't be worried about such things. The Director of the play on his way to the rehearsal, Renato, is ambushed by the three convicts and forced to drive them to a safe hideout. They arrive, invade the house, wait for the remaining rehearsal friends to show up and proceed to hold everyone hostage. Violence and Flesh ensue.

The criminals comprise of Paulo, a former pimp and Jorge, a sex crazed maniac. Tercio is essentially the leader but not depraved like the aforementioned loonies. Jorge forces Neila (Neide Riberio of Bare Behind Bars, a WIP sexploitation flick) to stripdance while her boyfriend Amano, friend Leticia (Helena Ramos, Brazilian Erotic Goddess) and others watch. Jorge then proceeds to rape Nelia, while everyone watches in disgust. With the other guests frightened, Paulo orders Ana and Sandra to have sex in front of the group while he rapes Fabio. I can tell you I was just as shocked as the guests in the room watching poor Fabio being man-handled. As expected the films rounds out with more nudity, sex and Leticia falling in love with Tercio which leads to an underwhelming finale.

Impulse Pictures brings Violence and Flesh on DVD for the first time ever. It has a new digital transfer and presented in the Original Full Frame Aspect Ratio. For being a 29 year old low budget erotic film, Violence and Flesh fares very well. Only one audio option which is Portuguese Dolby Digital mix with removable newly translated English subtitles. Audio is clear, no problems in that department. No extra features are included except a double sided paper insert explaining what the Pornochanchada genre is. Impulse Pictures overall does a fine job bringing such an obscure title to DVD.

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