• Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane (Le Chat Quie Fume) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Le Chat Qui Fume
    Released on: September 1st, 2018.
    Director: Jess Franco
    Cast: Montserrat Prous, Anne Libert, Kali Hansa, Jacqueline Laurent, Howard Vernon, Manuel Pereiro, Jesus Franco
    Year: 1973

    Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane – Movie Review:

    One of many films that Jess Franco made for producer Robert de Nesle in the seventies, Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane (or, if you prefer, Sinner: Diary Of A Nymphomaniac) starts off, not all too surprisingly, in a nightclub where a middle aged man (Manuel Pereiro) gets drunk and is picked up by a beautiful young woman named Linda (Montserrat Prous). She takes him to a hotel and after getting naked with him, calls the police and tells them to come to the room because a woman has just been murdered. She then proceeds to slit her throat and place the knife in the hand of the drunken, lecherous man she’s conned.

    From there we meet the wife (Jacqueline Laurent) of the man accused of murder as she talks to one of Linda’s friends, Anna de Monterey (Anne Libert), about how her husband came to be in this situation to try and deduce whether he actually committed the crime or not. Through a series of flashbacks we learn how Linda moved to the city from the country only to be consistently taken advantage of by men and woman alike. As she falls further into sexual depravity and drug addiction, she takes on lovers of all kinds from both sexes and soon becomes a nymphomaniac. Together, the wife and friend read through Linda’s diary and uncover not only the truth about her death but also about her evolution and loss of innocence.

    As packed with sex and debauchery as Sinner is, and there’s quite a bit of it, what is most striking about the film is the sense of sadness that surrounds the central character. Less a celebration of sexual freedoms and more a condemnation of those who would take advantage of a younger, more innocent type. The movie may be packed to the rims with nudity and sex of both the homo and hetero variety but the sex here is rarely joyful, rather, it’s frequently unpleasant and serves not as titillation but as foreshadowing of the end we already know is coming. Montserrat Prous, who worked with Franco semi-regularly during this period, has got the right sort of screen presence and facial features to give her character the air of sexualized tragedy that makes her work, sometimes saying more with a look than with a line of dialogue.

    As far as the pacing of the film goes, it’s erratic in that there isn’t a whole lot of complexity to the story and much of the film is taken up with sex scenes, but unlike some of his other work, here they do serve a purpose. With each coupling Linda undertakes, we see her take one step further into the abyss. That’s not to say that there’s no erotic value to be found in the film – bleak as the subjectivity of the sex scenes may be, they can be steamy enough to get a rise. Franco has always had a good eye for the female form and his casting choices here are no exception.

    Like many of his other films, here the director himself has a supporting role as a detective. He doesn’t really alter the film all that much but it’s fun to see him show up in the movie. Typically, the film also features quite a few night club scenes, some shot with the odd fetishistic glee that is so common in some of his other pictures, though there isn’t as much zoom lens obsession on display here as in other films (not a complaint, mind you). The score isn’t the straight up jazz that backs up a lot of his other movies but is instead a fuzz guitar rock score. It’s not out of place, however – it suits the material and the era well. The film is quite well shot and makes good use of its different locations, from the smoky nightclubs to the fancy seaside mansions, and it has a nice look and feel to it. While Franco has made better pictures (and also many far worse ones), Sinner is interesting in how it foreshadows some of the areas that he, just like his central protagonist in this film, would dive head first into in the years to come.

    Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane – Blu-ray Review:

    French distributor Le Chat Qui Fume presents the film on Region B Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 1.66.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc with the ninety-minute feature taking up just under 25GBs of space. Generally speaking, this one looks quite good in HD. The colors are a bit faded in some spots, and there are occasional contrast quirks, but the transfer offers nice detail, depth and texture. There’s no obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement. The frequent use of soft focus means that detail doesn’t pop here the way that the best Blu-ray discs do, but that’s just part of the look that the film has (and it shares this look with a lot of Franco’s other pictures).

    DTS-HD Mono tracks are offered up in both English and French with optional English subtitles translating the French track. There’s some minor hiss in a few spots but otherwise the English track sounds fine from the sampling that was done for this review. The film plays better in French, however, and the quality of that track is pretty good. The music has decent depth to it and the dialogue sounds fine. Again, there’s a bit of hiss here and there but it’s not a constant and when it does appear, it’s minor. Other than that, the track is fine – the levels are properly balanced and there are no real issues.

    The extras begin with Le Journal Intime De Jess Franco with Alain Petit, a forty-one-minute interview with the French actor. Up next, Jesus Et Moi is a twenty-five minute interview with actress Jacqueline Laurent. Lastly, Le Journal Intime Du Gerard Kikoine, which runs forty-seven-minutes and interviews the film’s editor.
    Unfortunately, all of these featurettes are in French without any subtitles of any kind except for the Laurent interview. In this piece she talks about her background working as an actress in the theater scene in Quebec, how she eventually wound up moving to France and working there and auditioning for some of the early roles she took in that country. She then talks about connecting with Franco and taking direction from him after her agent got her the chance to appear in his films, doing nudity in these pictures, how things could ‘fluctuate’ on his pictures, and details on what it was like to film some of the more memorable scenes she had a part in.

    The disc also includes trailers for
    Eyeball, The Contract, The Blood Rose, Come Cani Arrabbiati and Love And Death In The Garden Of The Gods. Menus and chapter selection are also included on the disc.

    As this is a combo pack release we also get a DVD version of the movie. Both discs are housed inside a sturdy fold out digipack that fits nicely inside a cardboard slipcover.

    Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane – The Final Word:

    Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane is an interesting picture, one that sees Franco diving headfirst into his obsessions both thematically and stylistically. It features strong, artistically inclined direction and some bold performances. The Blu-ray release from Le Chat Qui Fume might, sadly, lack English subtitles for the extras but it does present the feature in a very nice high definition presentation.

    Click on the images below for full sized Le Journal Intime D’Une Nymphomane Blu-ray screen caps!