Talking Dirty

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Believe it or not, there was a time before the internet when pornographic images weren't everywhere, and people went to the cinema to what they called 'dirty movies'. There was even a brief period between the relaxation of censorship in the late 60s and the advent of 'porno chic' in the mid-70s when audiences would flock to films emerging from the underground with content which the mainstream wouldn't touch, which allowed the careers of such filmmakers as Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey and John Waters to flourish.

One obscurity form this era is The Telephone Book, the only film made by Saturday Night Live writer Nelson Lee, screening tonight as part of Matchbox Cineclub. Lee had excellent underground credential, getting Warhol superstars Ondine and Ultra Violet to perform in the film - allegedly, Warhol was also originally in it, though his footage ended up on the room cutting floor!

The film is a satire on sexual mores in New York in the early 70s, telling the story of Alice, a sex-obsessed hippie, who receives an obscene phone call from a man claiming to be the 'greatest obscene phone caller' (the things people did before Snapchat), and sets out to find him. Could this film be some bizarre precursor to Elle - I certainly hope it's funnier. There's only one way to find out, as the film is currently unavailable by strictly legal means, so go to the CCA..


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Japanese Forms

It looks a wee bit craplike going by the trailer. Well, it might be fun. Never know.

Jill Clayburgh's in it I see.
Once saw her, in real life, on the set of La Luna many moons (no pun intended) ago.
Bertolucci had two broken arms as well.

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Brian Beadie

@japanese-forms What were you doing on the set of La Luna? I'd imagine a Bertolucci set wouldn't be the safest place to be - who'd broken his arms? Maria Schneider?

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Japanese Forms

@brian-beatie We were paying an unauthorized visit to Cinecittà. The fence was broken and we just wandered in. Bertolucci was setting up an open-air opera scene (which if I recall correctly is at the end of the film) with his crew, technicians, and the various actors involved. Jill Clayburgh coming and going as the director gave directions to one and all.
We got to stick around -unimaginable nowadays- and watch the rehearsals for the scene that was to be shot in the evening.
All very interesting; we had drinks and food with the crew as well as an animated (all that gesticulating the italians do - if you cut off their hands they'd be deaf and dumb) discussion with them on Bertolucci and his films. Fond souvenir.

Apparently he'd broken both arms in a car accident a day or two before.
Maria Schneider, unfortunately, wasn't around.

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Brian Beadie

@japanese-forms Incredible story - I've never seen La Luna.it doesn't get shown much these days for some reason...

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Japanese Forms

@brian-beadie
Maybe it doesn't get shown, La Luna, because of the "incestuous" relationship theme.
Anyhow, I would imagine Clayburgh got to make this film with Bertolucci on the strength of her role in An Unmarried Woman. Highpoints in her career I imagine.

There's photographic evidence of our encounter with Bertolucci. Unfortunately, and despite promising us copies, I haven't seen the friend who took the pictures since around '82. *sigh*
We couldn't afford a camera and photography wasn't someting I was interested in back then. *re-sigh*

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