Sinfonia Erotica (1980)

Director:Jess Franco Story by:Marquis de Sade Screenplay by:Jesús Franco Music by:Jesús Franco Cinematography:Lyoner Efe  Running time:1h 31min Country:Spain, Portugal Language:Spanish Genre:Drama, Romance  Subtitle:English 

Starring: Lina Romay ... Martine de Bressac (as Candice Coster), Susan Hemingway ... Norma,

Armando Borges ... Marqués Armando de Bressac, Mel Rodrigo ... Flor, Aida Gouveia ... Wanda,
George Santos ... George
, Albino Graziani ... Dr. Louys


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     Jess Franco film about a woman (Lina Romay) returning home from an insane asylum only to discover her husband is now living with a man. The two men eventually find a nun (Susan Hemmingway) who''s been raped and the three come up with a plot to kill the wife for her money.

     All of us Jess Franco fans know that he was a musician before being a filmmaker, yet we dont know much about his musical tastes. Jazz apart, what musical genre or what composers does he prefer?

The choice of using Franz Liszts scores in some of his films could give us our first answer. Many Franco fans will remember the trumpet solo in the night-club where Miss Death performs her shows (MISS MUERTE, 1965): its a transcription from Franz Liszts Dream of Love No.3 in A Flat Major (as a matter of fact a nocturne), one of those piano Love Melodies, once very popular, that all good-family ladies and girls liked to play in their houses. Franco has used this sentimental melody numerous times, in the most disparate transcriptions. It will be just the Dream of Love No.3, strummed by Lina Romay on a small piano, which will magically open a strong-box full of gold bars in the last scene of LA NOCHE DE LOS SEXOS ABIERTOS (1981).

However, no classical score has such a great importance in a Franco film as Liszts Second Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1839-1861), since its original score forms a large part of SINFONIA EROTICAs musical soundtrack. [See note below.] It suffices to know that Franco used the whole Concerto, except for the 67 bars of Sempre Allegro, Marziale, un poco meno Allegro and Un poco animato (one minute and a half total). The key-importance of this choice is pointed out already in the title: SINFONIA EROTICA is really a film built around a symphonic music score, where the pace of the acting and dialogue adjusts itself to the time of music. It looks as if Franco wrote and shot the film while keeping the different episodes of the Concerto in his mind.

Before talking about the film, its worth trying to explain what it is in Liszts music that attracted Franco so much. Probably he was interested in the strong dialectics between popular and experimental typical of Liszts music; an unusual coupling in the world of classical music, but, at the same time, one of the key-aspects (many times underlined by the director himself) in Francos cinema.

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