Thursday, December 30, 2021

Cries of Pleasure – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1982
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Lina Romay, Rocío Freixas, Antonio Mayans, Elisa Vela, Juan Soler, Jesús Franco

Release Date: February 25th, 2020
Approximate Running Time: 86 Minutes 48 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Spanish
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98

"Inspired by Hitchcock’s ROPE, Franco utilized long takes, minimal edits and his beloved Lina Romay at her most extreme for this de Sade-induced saga of violence, depravity and psychosexual mayhem among the amoral elite." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "4k scan from the original negative."

Cries of Pleasure comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 22.2 GB

Feature: 17.6 GB

The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. Print-related debris is minimal, details look crisp, colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones are correct, black levels remain strong throughout, and the grain remains intact.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in Spanish, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio is in very good shape. Background hiss is minimal, the dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.


Extras for this release include a locations featurette titled In The Land Of Franco Part 1 (21 minutes 1 second, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Murderous Passions, Franco Volume 1: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús and Flowers of Perversion, Volume 2: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco titled Jess Franco’s Golden Years (26 minutes 41 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an interview with Jess Franco and Lina Romay titled When Donald Met Jess and Lina Part 1 (11 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles).


Jess Franco, like most directors, had his obsessions. And though there were several obsessions that he would return to throughout his career, When discussing the cinema of Jess Franco, there’s no denying the influence that the Marquis de Sade had.

Having said that, Jess Franco made only a few films that are directly related to the Marquis de Sade. Most notably, films like Marquis de Sade’s Justine, Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey into Perversion, and Eugenie De Sade. Throughout his filmography, there are many instances where the Marquis de Sade’s influence can be felt.

A case in point is a film like Cries of Pleasure, whose opening title sequence credits the Marquis of Sade. Cries of Pleasure and De Sade-like elements, on the other hand. The plot does not seem to have actually been adapted from the Marquis de Sade.

Jess Franco's filmmaking is the type of filmmaking that you either love or hate. His insistence on breaking cinema’s norms is one of the main reasons why there’s such a huge divide when it comes to his devotees and those who loathe his cinema.

However, there are a few instances throughout his filmography where he tries to make conventional cinema. It’s ultimately the films that defy cinema norms that his most devoted fans are most drawn to.

Cries of Pleasure is a textbook example of Jess Franco’s adventurism as a filmmaker. The anemic narrative features minimal dialog, and the bulk of the screen time is composed of moments of eroticism. Though eroticism takes center stage in Cries of Pleasure, the sex scenes are surprisingly restrained, and they never venture beyond soft-core erotica.

Performance-wise, the cast are very good in their respective roles, especially Lina Romay (Female Vampire, Exorcism) in the role of Julia, the husband’s lover. Another performance of note is by Roco Freixas in the role of Martina, the deranged wife who’s recently returned home from an asylum. Lina Romay and Roco Freixas have a tremendous amount of chemistry, and the moments they share are the most memorable.

Not to be overlooked when discussing Cries of Pleasure are the visuals, which often use long takes. And though long takes can come off as a gimmick due to poor execution, The way Jess Franco uses long takes is very effective. Most notably, by having the camera zoom in and out. Another strength of the visuals is their inventive compositions, which often frame the action through objects.

From a production standpoint, Cries of Pleasure is an extraordinary film that ranks among Jess Franco’s best films. The premise is superbly realized, the well-executed narrative is overflowing with moments that could have only been directed by Jess Franco, and the finale provides a very satisfying conclusion.

Cries of Pleasure gets a definitive release from Severin Films, highly recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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