Tinto Brass is one of the most inter­est­ing direc­tors of erot­i­ca because his take on the gen­re is so dis­tinc­tive.  Rather than just rely on the sex and nudi­ty to hold the viewer’s inter­est, he approach­es his sub­ject mat­ter with a cer­tain “boudoir phi­los­o­phy” and ori­ents his direc­to­ri­al style around  it (not to men­tion his fetish­es).  Even the slighter works in his fil­mog­ra­phy rise above the sex­ploita­tion dol­drums because they are infused with his sin­gu­lar take on sex.

Private-pos1Case in point: Private (known in some coun­tries as Do It!).  This film finds Brass tack­ling the port­man­teau film, dish­ing up a sex­tet of short tales in just under nine­ty min­utes.  The premis­es are Penthouse Forum-type stuff: a hus­band helps his wife indul­ge her not-so-secret desire for a three­some, two cou­ple swap part­ners as they try to advance their busi­ness agen­das, a hotel maid “earns” tips from a randy cou­ple to help her boyfriend out, a wife tells her jeal­ous hus­band cheat­ing tales to entice him, a wom­an gets revenge on a stray­ing hub­by in a way that hurts his pride and libido and a pair of new­ly­weds expe­ri­ence a voyeur with a sur­prise up his sleeve.

As sto­ries, the­se tales are sim­ple stuff: the plot and char­ac­ter­i­za­tions are min­i­mal so max­i­mum time can be devot­ed to the sex.  What makes Private inter­est­ing is Brass’ approach to the mate­ri­al.  His visu­al style has an overt­ly fetishized qual­i­ty: the cam­era is fre­quent­ly placed at crotch lev­el and he favors visu­al com­po­si­tions that high­light the splen­dor of the female der­rière.  As is typ­i­cal­ly the case in a Brass film, the cam­er­a­work is slick and works in tandem with the pPrivate-pos2roduc­tion design to give the film a styl­ized qual­i­ty that off­sets the exu­ber­ant raunch­i­ness of the mate­ri­al.

Private offers an added lay­er of intrigue in how the var­i­ous sto­ries rep­re­sent the director’s phi­los­o­phy about sex: the tales fre­quent­ly revolve around how men secret­ly enjoy expe­ri­enc­ing jeal­ousy to stoke their own inter­nal flame of desire, the idea of voyeurism as an aphro­disi­ac and the con­cept that cheat­ing can add spice to a roman­tic rela­tion­ship rather than destroy­ing it.

In short, Private is best viewed as a style exer­cise: while the tales might plow famil­iar erot­i­ca ter­ri­to­ry, it’s the style — and the phi­los­o­phy dri­ving the style — that makes it worth a look to gen­re fans.  If you’re already con­vert­ed to the Tinto Brass approach, you can rest assured you’ll have fun here.