Paula-Paula (2010)

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Paula (Carmen Montes, the star of Jess Franco''s SNAKEWOMAN) is a pornographic nightclub performer who has been institutionalized for the murder of another performer also named Paula (Paula Davis). She is questioned by Alma Pereira (Lina Romay) but the answers are evasive. The camera''s subjective view into Paula''s mind proves to be equally distorted by the girl''s hazy libido, which is haunted by the other Paula. Were they lovers? Enemies? Or the same person? An "audiovisual experience" based on Robert Louis Stevenson''s Jekyll/Hyde novel, PAULA-PAULA is more of a vehicle for the music tracks that late Austrian jazz composer Friedrich Gulda''s (who scored Franco''s masterful SUCCUBUS/NECRONOMICON) family gifted to Franco recently.

Interpretation wise, I think the Jekyll and Hyde reference is just there to get the audience to read an interpretation into the "narrative." Fragments are dropped here and there in between interludes of the other Paula dancing (her image distorted with a split mirror digital effect that turns her into a shapeshifter with two bodies, sometimes three breasts, two faces, no face, her limbs multiply and twist, and so on) and a twenty-five minute make-out session between the two Paulas. PAULA-PAULA opens up some ponder-worth avenues of interpretation, but it plays better as its own soundtrack or an album with visuals.

What you first need to understand before watching Jess Franco''s Paula-Paula is that it''s not a normal movie. There''s not script, there''s a beginning and ending, but something else in between. It''s actually what the title say it is, an audiovisual experience that could belong in an art gallery.

Yes, here we have a 66 minute long piece of video art. Maybe more people should appreciate it if it was shown on a wall in a club, or in dark small cinema during an art exhibition. The majority of these minutes is filled with Gulda''s fantastic jazz music, and some piece of his classical works too, and the scenes of dancing, mirror-effects and sex goes on forever. But there''s never anything tasteless. It''s arty and most of the time very cool, beautiful and trippy.

The actors are okey, but it''s hard to tell because there''s not much acting. Lina Romay is good as the police woman, but her part is very small. After that scene, the only out-of-place scene comes, when her assistant is watching Paula dance naked by exercise bike (I think...)! It feels like it was shot by someone else and just added to make the movie longer and add some more commercial nudity without video effects and arty editing. I don''t have to mention it probably has no budget at all, and sometimes look very cheap.

As with many other productions from Uncle Jess, this is an experiment that will divide the audience. If you see it as an art video, an installation, you will get more from it than if you''re expecting the normal sleaze-fest. Sure, it has a lot of nudity and no story, but still... this is not one of those Franco-movie where you gather the boys, opens a few beers and having a blast..

Written by suckmysound