(1969) 70 minutes, B/W, with Cassandra Gerstein, Andrea Loomis, & Gail Porter
(out of distribution)
Made entirely by women - a group of young men and women have a cinema
verite confessional about their most bizarre sexual experiences in a strange
modern day Decameron.
from the Whitney Museum's program notes, David Bienstock,
The powerful effect of a verbally erotic story juxtaposed to conventional
imagery was perhaps first discovered by Jean Luc-Godard in the opening sequence
of WEEKEND. TALES explores this idea more fully and the result, although
obviously controversial, is quite interesting. At a time when eroticism
in film means either a cold, clinical portrayal of sexual technique or a
phony manipulation of sexual passion, TALES represents an attempt to go
into a deeper analysis of peoples' sexual needs and desires.
Gathering a group of people to tell their sexual stories and experiences
before a motion picture camera might imply a partiality to certain personality
types. However, one of the strengths of TALES is that the people in the
film are not so unusual or strange, but seem, at least on the surface, recognizable
New Yorkers. It was probably partly due to this fact that the film is shot
as unobtrusively as possible - nothing is emphasized except the stark reality
of peoples faces, movements and expressions. If not for the sound track,
these people could be having a pleasant after-dinner discussion. But they
are not, and the contrast between the simplicity of the camera work and
the explosiveness of the stories provides a deep underlying tension. This
contrast is no greater than the split in reality we experience every day
between the exterior calmness and rationality of people and their secret
from the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas, 12/14/73
"Their dialog is forthright, often clinical, and this is perhaps
the chief reason TALES is liberating rather than titillating in effect.
It may well be that they are all putting on both us and each other, and,
as has been suggested, TALES is therefore really about the nature of storytelling".