Like Borowczyk's earlier Blanche, this traces the misfortunes that befall an erotic innocent when she tries for love in a world dedicated to repressing or exploiting it. The source here is a turn-of-the-century Polish novel, and Borowczyk films it (with absolute period fidelity) as a full-blooded melodrama, carrying his audience off on swings of emotion, alternately rapturous and harrowing. At the same time, though, he invests it with countless reminders of his own background as the most idiosyncratic of contemporary surrealists: by bringing décor and design to the same prominence throughout as the physical action (incidentally 'eroticising' many of the objects that appear), and by framing the story of Eva's amour fou with precise descriptions of the religious, moral and economic factors that conspire to thwart it. His control of everything from his attractive cast to his speed-of-thought editing is unassailable. The result is passionately intense, and extremely entertaining.
Cast and crew