Vadim's piece of characteristically humourless comic-strip sexism uses the hoary literary device of revivifying its ex-heroine by patching together a multi-faceted biography from all her previous lovers. It's a predictable chain of haute-couture bunk-ups until a wayward playboy takes 'le petit mort' a shade literally and strangles her at the point of orgasm: she comes and goes. Unlike Damiano's (hardcore) Story of Joanna or Roeg's Bad Timing, Vadim's film hasn't got the imagination to cope with the large-scale metaphysical implications surrounding sexuality and death. But at least he does have the nerve to confront his fantasies. Where else can you see someone wanking over a Madonna and Child in the Pitti Palace gallery to the strains of Tubular Bells? Or a modern -dress version of Watteau's The Swing? Or a pederast film critic quoting Gide in Highgate Cemetery?
Cast and crew