I have to confess that my knowledge of classic hardcore porn, especially of the European variety, is pretty pathetic. Shameful, I know. My knowledge is so embarrassingly poor that, up until only a few years ago, I had no idea that Brigitte Lahaie – the French porn star of the 70s – had anything to do with hardcore porn and knew her only from Jean Rollin films. Lahaie had always been my favourite of Rollin’s regulars, so, needless to say, I was interested in checking out the work that made her famous.
LE SEGRETE ESPERIENZE DI LUCA E FANNY
aka: Summer in the Country
aka: Secrets d’Adolescentes
France/Italy, 1980, Roberto Girometti & Gérard Loubeau
Like I said, I’m sure the version of Luca e Fanny I watched was missing rather large chunks of plot, especially in its presentation of Luca’s relationship with his aunt, which is frantically rushed out in the film’s final act. However, whether there were scenes missing or not, I still very much enjoyed Luca e Fanny. Incest was an especially popular theme in both American and European porn through the 70s and 80s, but somehow Luca e Fanny seems innocent enough for it to not come across as completely depraved. Perhaps this glossy innocence is created by the film’s beautiful cinematography, partially credited to co-director Roberto Girometti. It’s hard to believe the cinematographer of Rat Man (1988) could make something look so good. On top of the beautiful photography, Luca e Fanny also features a sensuous (albeit repetitive) score. Unfortunately some shoddy editing interrupts the proceedings with footage in hardcore scenes being reversed and repeated at a few occasions. It’s enough to be distracting, but not enough to become a major problem.
The cast is uniformly excellent. Brigitte Lahaie is incredibly sexy, playing a role worlds apart from her usually naive characters in Jean Rollin’s films. Lahaie is a genuinely good actress and clearly gives this role her all. Lahaie’s uncredited sidekick is also quite good, although I wish they chose a body double that looked more like her or at least framed out their entirely different haircuts! Gil Lagardère is well cast as the snotty Luca and bravely parades around in lingerie. His sister, Fanny, is not quite as interesting, but Julia Perrin is nice enough to look at. Jane Baker is also a standout as Luca’s aunt – I only wish she had more screen time.
Though I know little about Euro hardcore, even I can tell you that Le segrete esperienze di Luca e Fanny is a must-see of the genre, if only for historical reasons as it’s Brigitte Lahaie’s final hardcore role. Lahaie gives a great performance, and thankfully she is sent off with a film that matches her talents. She is surrounded by a solid cast and a crew who know how to make a film look good. Hardcore or not, Le segrete esperienze di Luca e Fanny is a classy affair.