Radley Metzger | 1969 | 115 mins | Italy
If only the 1960s were actually as outlandishly stylish as this insane, Italian sex melodrama. The sets (from the main character’s crazy white-plastic mansion, complete with a clear plastic inflatable bed, all the way to the bondage dungeon themed party near the film’s conclusion) are totally mental, and the costumes are indescribably elaborate and fantastical. From the film’s opening sequence, in which Danièle Gaubert as Marguerite (a.k.a. the film’s tragic heroine) is swathed in a dress that looks like it’s made of silk and Plexiglas, it is clear that design is at least as compelling a reason to watch as the faint hope of soft focus boobs.
Camille 2000 is really, really sentimental and sad - surprisingly so. I almost forgot it was supposed to be sexy and titillating because the melodrama was so thick. You could hear soft sighs and sniffs in the audience – people who’d been taken on an involuntary emotional journey by the film’s silly, maudlin, tragic love story.
My advice is, forget the sadness and the heartbreak, and focus on that insane dresses that look like they're made out of razors or alien matter brought down from a secret mission to Mars, y'know? Costume designer Enrico Sabbatini should have gotten an Oscar (or some Italian equivalent) for his creations. He also worked on Metzger’s The Lickerish Quartet, so I can only assume that it’s a mindblowing work of visual genius.
Oh, the score by Piero Piccioni is also 100% top notch. Listen a bit here and fall in love.