• Helena



    Released by: Impulse Pictures
    Released on: April 10th, 2018.
    Director: Alain Nauroy
    Cast: Valerie Boisgel, Yan Brian, Richard Darbois, Monique Vita
    Year: 1975
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    The Movie:

    A lovely woman named Helene Kanosha (or Helena, if you prefer, played by pretty Valérie Boisgel of The Blood Rose) is invited by a man named Roy, a man she has a romantic past with, to spend some time at a fancy estate on the coast of southern France. She arrives at the door to be greeted by a man in a bathrobe who assures her that he’ll alert Roy to her presence immediately. This man’s name is Frank (Yan Brian) – he owns the joint - and he lets her know that Roy will be around soon enough – he’s…. busy at the moment.

    With no one else around to interfere, Frank takes this opportunity to butter her up. He talks about her relationship with Roy, the pros and cons of their mostly sexual relationship, and how and why she wound up at his place to start with. It turns out that Roy has been upstairs screwing a ‘young girl’ for the last hour or so – which of course, causes Helene to second guess her decision to show up here in the first place. She is, of course, quite upset by this – and Frank uses this as an opportunity to coerce her into sticking around. After all, she’s in no shape to drive home, she’s upset and will clearly have an accident. As the story progresses, Frank continues to talk to Helene, to make himself available should she ever need someone to talk to. He does the nice guy act quite well, allowing her to let her guard down and get comfortable with him. And of course, when she bathes that night, he watches her through the window (as does the audience – it doesn’t look like she’s a natural blonde!).

    Meanwhile, Roy really is banging some younger chick. This cute dark haired gal goes down on him and then they go at it for a bit. Meanwhile, Helena swims and masturbates and then, after getting caught in the act by Frank, screws him in the pool (some nice underwater photography makes this scene work) and then again, with the help of a dildo, on the deck while a cute brunette watches and masturbates. Soon enough it’s clear that Frank is casting a spell of some sort over Helene, and that it’s working. She seems completely okay with becoming his plaything and then… a group of men appear that Frank tells her ‘you’ll appreciate them for their violence.’ From there, things get dark and somewhat twisted as he puts her through different acts of degradation and she winds up serving as a toy not just for Frank, but for a group of men who have shown up and put a knife to his throat!

    “Haven’t you been once in your life envious of prostitutes? And wanted to give yourself to an unknown man who’d pay for it?”

    1975’s Helena (also known as La Villa) is a reasonably kinky seventy-three-minute fuck fest that has a decent, if never amazing, story to it that keeps things interesting. The performances, all clearly dubbed in this English version, are if nothing committed while the production values are solid. Director Alain Nauroy films on some nice locations – primarily the big house that Helene shows up to in the opening minutes of the picture – and the cinematography is pretty solid here. It does look like body doubles might have been used in some of Valérie Boisgel’s ‘hardcore’ scenes but it’s close enough that unless you tend to look for things like that for the purpose of writing an overly long review for an obscure French porno movie made in the seventies you probably won’t notice it.

    There’s enough kink to the sex scenes to keep them interesting and those engaged in the various acts of fuckery seem to be reasonably committed to it for purposes of personal pleasure as much as for putting on a good show. No one overacts, but everyone gets off. Valérie Boisgel does make for a pretty solid lead here, even if the dubbing is less than convincing. She emotes well, portraying pleasure as effectively as pain, and doing a very fine job of handling everything in between just as easily. She’s also clearly a good sport, confident enough in herself and comfortable enough in her surroundings on set (we assume) to allow herself to be tied up, set upon, shaved and photographed by a quarter of knife-wielding men.

    This was clearly made fast and cheap but it has enough going for it that fans of slyly kinky Euro-hardcore made in seventies France should at least appreciate it, even if they’re never likely to acknowledge it as any sort of fuck film classic.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Impulse Pictures presents Helena in 1.66.1 anamorphic widescreen in a transfer that looks to be sourced from an unrestored print. Right from the opening credits there’s a fair amount of print damage – mostly scratches – and while that does tend to ebb and flow throughout playback, it’s always there. Colors are a bit flat and a bit faded, but compression is fine and the end result? It’s like watching a well-used film print. More restoration would have helped here, obviously, but that didn’t happen. Still, if this isn’t an amazing presentation it’s watchable enough.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is fine. The dialogue is pretty easy to follow and the score is fairly clear even if it is a little flat. A bit of hiss here and there but the levels are properly balanced. This gets the job done.

    Outside of a static menu offering chapter selection, there are no extras on the disc at all. Nice job on the cover image though.

    The Final Word:

    Helena is a decent enough way to kill seventy-five-minutes with a vintage French hardcore effort. There’s a bit of character development, some effectively kinky ideas at play and decent production values. Impulse’s DVD is barebones and looks only okay rather than great, but fans of vintage French hardcore should appreciate being able to see this in watchable enough quality.