When Woody Allen re-edited and overdubbed Japanese spy film International Secret Police: Key of Keys
into absurdist comedy What's Up Tiger Lily
in 1966, I'm fairly certain that he didn't see this coming.
The French directorial duo Nicolas Charlet and Bruno Lavaine have dug through legendary European distributor Canal+'s immense catalog to create one of the most unique and hilarious cinematic experiences of 2015 with In Search of the Ultra-Sex
. At times pastiche, at time loving homage, but always laugh-out-loud hilarious, Ultra-Sex
pieces together dozens of different exploitation films into a single surprisingly coherent whole that never skimps on laughs. What could have been an unbearably tedious naval-gazing experiment is instead a rousingly funny film with far more to offer than any synopsis could possibly describe.
From their base on a space ship in orbit, a crew of astronauts discovers that the inhabitants of Earth have fallen prey to a pandemic of insatiable libido. When it is discovered that the culprit is the missing mythical Ultra-Sex, a kind of talisman that keeps the sexual drives of humanity in check, the clock begins ticking and a frantic search for this unifying element to bring the world back from the brink of cataclysmic climax.
If the synopsis sounds like the plot of a high concept '70s adult film, you're welcome, because In Search of the Ultra-Sex
is just that. Remarkably cohesive, and yet delightfully insane, Ultra-Sex
is the result of what can only have been the most hilarious research project-cum-feature film ever produced. Charlet and Lavaine weave together bits and pieces from innumerable films, both porn and straight, to create a single story line whose ludicrous execution is skillfully held together by their impressive wits. Every '70s and '80s born cliche is trotted out and contextualized in this rapid fire assault on the viewer's sense of good taste and sanity.
What Tiger Lily
accomplished by realigning a single coherent text, Ultra-Sex
does by picking and choosing some of the more ridiculous moments from dozens of the craziest films of the golden age of modern pornography. If you're ever wondered what purpose was served by roller-skating porn, aerobic porn, male genital calisthenics, or space porn, you'll now have your answer. Beyond the obvious re-dubbing of the dialogue to form a single coherent story-line, the filmmakers elaborate on the absurdity of the proceedings by adding not only new dialogue, but also fantastic new sound effects to supplement the story, along with a completely out-of-left-field musical number that left me breathless.
Either a super smart or super dumb orgy between the concept behind What's Up, Tiger Lily?
and A Town Called Panic
, Gallic cinematic collage In Search of the Ultra-Sex
is a film that knows both its strengths and weaknesses, and has the good sense to get out while the getting's good. At only 60 minutes, there's scarcely any time for the viewer to lose interest, especially when a footage from the legendarily inept Samurai Cop
comes into play toward the end. If you're a fan of any of the above mentioned projects, anything by Astron-6, or just really don't mind seeing an uncountable number of floppy dicks on screen in the name of comedy, I think you're in the right place.
In Search of the Ultra-Sex
is goofy as fuck, and I love it.
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