Tom Berenger plays Andras Vayda, a young man growing up in post-war Hungary. He isboth precociously sexual and completely at sea with girls his own age, and at 16 becomes thelover of Karen Black. He then has a succession of older mistresses, including Susan Strasberg asa revolutionary in the heady days of the unsuccessful Hungarian uprising against the Communistsin the late 50s. He then moves to Canada, where his adventures continue.
The tale of sexual adventures pl…yed out against the backdrop of Eastern Europe’s agonyrecalls the much later Unbearable Lightness of Being, a comparison that In Praise ofOlder Women cannot live up to (though it holds up not too badly against the work of TintoBrass). Berenger’s Andras is hopelessly selfish and shallow, and not much of a protagonist. Thesex scenes, which got the Ontario Censor Board’s knickers in a twist in 1978 are very tame bytoday’s standards. But though the film is rather dull, it was a huge hit by Canadian standards,especially by those of English Canada (the like simply never happens today), and the controversypermanently put the Toronto Film Festival on the map. So the pic deserves a place inhistory.
The mono sound is clean and free of distortion. It may sound a bit older than 1978, but it getsthe job done, and doesn’t have the issues that plague the picture, about which more below.Unexceptional, then, but also unexceptionable.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic picture has the very soft, faded colour look of so many 70s films, butthat is the movie, not the transfer. Still, expect a print that looks very much its age. There is nospeckling, at least. Some of the darker scenes are rather murky (in one scene it is almostimpossible to know what one is looking at), and the blacks could be darker. The main problem,however, is a pulsing glare that appears every few seconds with annoying regularity, usually inthe bottom half of the frame.
Oddly, the opening and closing credits have a multi-angle feature, allowing one to switchbetween the English and French credits. The main extra is a 40-minute documentary about themaking of the film and its riotous premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, and this is an excellentretrospective. The menu is basic.
As film history, this is a fairly important release. As a movie, it ain’t that much, but isinteresting to watch from a film-buff persepective.
Special Features List
- Making-of Documentary