(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, 1973
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 inner life.

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".