Going Places (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 29, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Going Places” is one of the most audacious dark sexual comedies I have ever seen and one of the top box office films in France in 1974! While some may find the film as offensive, others may find delight in how much Bertrand Blier was able to explore erotic farce and sexual fantasy in such a way!
TITLE: Going Places (Les valseuses)
FILM RELEASE: 1974
DURATION: 118 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:88:1), French LPCM Monaural, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Kino Classics/Kino Lorber
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Directed by Bertrand Blier
Based on the Novel by Bertrand Blier
Written by Bertrand Blier and Philippe Dumarcay
Producer: Paul Claudon
Music by Stephane Grappelli
Cinematography by Bruno Nuytten
Edited by Kenout Peltier
Production Design by Jean-Jacques Caziot, Francoise Hardy
Costume Design by Michele Cerf
Gerard Depardieu as Jean-Claude
Patrick Dewaere as Pierrot
Miou-Miou as Marie-Ange
Jeanne Moreau as Jeanne Pirolle
Gerard Boucaron as CArnot
Dominique Davray as Ursula
Isabelle Huppert as Jacqueline
A shockingly hilarious sex comedy, GOING PLACES exposes the outrageous desires of a pair of perpetually horny twenty-something brutes.
Jean-Claude (Gérard Depardieu, in the role that made him a star) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere) live on instinct, spending their days harassing women and committing petty crimes. Their amorous adventures lead them to a frigid beautician (Miou-Miou), a sex-starved ex-con (Jeanne Moreau) and a teenager desperate to escape bourgeois life (Isabelle Huppert, in one of her first roles). The French title is “Les Valseuses (The Testicles),” isolating the source of their anti-social behavior. Dodging the cops, jilted women and their own rampaging libidos, Jean-Claude and Pierrot are perpetually on the verge of death or imprisonment, and they don’t seem to mind.
Directed by Bertrand Blier with an insouciant wit, and graced with a justly famous score by Stéphane Grappelli, GOING PLACES is “an explosively funny erotic farce – both a celebration and a satire of men’s daydreams.” (Pauline Kael)
When you were younger, do you remember those sexual or even reckless impulses that you had but you dare not step over the line? The French 1974 film “Les Valseuse” (“Going Places”) is a film about two men who do step over that line.
While “Les Valseuse” translates to “Going Places”, it’s also a film that can mean waltz dancers which is another word for testicles, balls, nuts, junk, etc. Even the theatrical trailer which doesn’t feature clips about the film just showcases the various names that people in the world have named for testicles. With its cheeky and comedic trailer, you know that this is going to be a sexual comedy. But how far would director Bertrand Blier go?
But filmmaker Bertrand Blier (“Beau Pere”, “Les cotellettes”, “Trop bell pour toi”) would write and craft one of the most audacious sexual comedies in France and sure enough, the film would not only become the third highest grossing film in France of 1974, “Going Places” would make Gérard Depardieu (“Green Card”, “The Man in the Iron Mask”, “Cyrano de Bergerac”), Patrick Dewaere (“Serie Noire”, “The Best Way to Walk”, “A Bad Son”) and Miou-Miou (“May Fools”, “Le lectrice”) the biggest stars in France. The film would also star an older Jean Moreau (“Jules and Jim”, “Elevator to the Gallows”, “The Trial”) in possibly her most sexual film yet.
The film would focus on the life of two troublesome men, Jean-Claude (played by Gérard Depardieu) and Pierrot (played by Patrick Dewaere). The first thing you see on screen as these two men stalk this older woman who is quickly trying to walk away from them. But each time they get close to her, the smack her rear end until she gets to her flat and tries to ring for the door to open. The men rub against her and steal her purse while being chased by many men who live in the apartment.
The two manage to escape but discover a DS automobile. Jean-Claude breaks into the car and both go on a joyride, but to return back to where they stole it. Waiting for them is the car’s owner who has a gun. While the man flaunts his whore Marie-Ange (played by Miou-Miou), the two try to get away from the man but Pierrot is shot in the testicle. Jean-Claude manages to beat the man, kidnaps Marie-Ange and the three go out to a junkyard where they ask a perverted friend to give them a new car.
In return, they will let the perverted man have sex with Marie-Ange. The exchange is made and Jean-Claude goes to get medical help for Pierrot, so they break into the home of a doctor and Jean-Claude threatens to do something to the doctor’s sleeping children if he doesn’t fix his friend. After Pierrot is fixed up, the two rob the doctor and his wife and then return back to the junkyard to learn that their perverted friend didn’t enjoy having sex with Marie-Ange because she just lies there without making a noise.
As the two go to bring Marie-Ange back home, they ask to rub her butt, so they can take sniff of her, which surprises Marie-Ange but she goes through with it. Meanwhile, Pierrot is concerned that he may never have an erection again because he was shot in the testicle, but Jean-Claude tries to reassure him that he’ll be fine.
As the two load up on food and necessities with the stolen money, the two sneak aboard a train. In the train is one woman (played by Brigitte Fossey) who is nursing her baby. The woman feels inconvenienced as Jean-Claude and Pierrot stare at her that she stops and the baby is left crying. Jean-Claude then pays the woman a lot of of money if she continues to breastfeed her baby in front of them. After she is done, she tries to leave the train, only to find out that there is no exit.
The two try to get close to her, finding out that she will be joining her husband who is in the military. Jean-Claude could care less. He offers her even more money to her if she can nurse Pierrot, with so much money being offered to her, she goes for it and Pierrot goes to suck one nipple, while Jean-Claude pinches the other, and in effect, turning the woman on. But Pierrot quits immediately because he is unable to get an erection which causes him concern.
Both Jean-Claude and Pierrot end up in a seaside town with hardly any occupants and break into a home. They start going through clothing in the home and start smelling a bikini and try to guess of how old the person who worn it is. As Pierrot goes on about not having an erection, Jean-Claude then tries to joke around with him and ask him what if they did things together. Pierrot is unnerved and tells Jean-Claude that only women can’t get him off and in jokingly fashion, Jean-Claude grabs him from behind to mash his penis on his rear.
Pierrot feels humiliated but Jean-Claude who is worried for is friend, decides to take him to Marie-Ange’s house to see if he can get an erection. And both men take turns with Marie-Ange, but no matter what they do, she doesn’t have an orgasm, nor is she able to make any noise. Both men are dejected and decide to rob Marie-Ange’s place of work for more money and when she gets upset of what they are doing, Jean-Claude shoots at her.
The two men run out with new money and try to score some girls at the bowling alley but realize that maybe today’s young women are all like Marie-Ange. Lifeless, no emotion during sex. Jean-Claude feels that perhaps the only way to find sexual fulfillment is to have sex with an older woman. And sure enough, one older woman named Jeanne Pirolle (played by Jeanne Moreau) has been released out of prison.
Will these two men ever become sexually fulfilled?
“Going Places” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). The picture quality for this 1974 film is fantastic! The clarity and detail are very good and while there is only one scene that looks like it used a different negative source (a scene when the guys were leaving off the train) and seem a bit discolored and occasional white specks, the picture quality was better than I was expecting. Colors are warm and I detected no artifacts, banding or any major problems except the one short scene.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Going Places” is presented in monaural. The film is presented in French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. Dialogue is clear and understandable. Subtitles are in English and are easy to read.
“Going Places” comes with the following special features:
- Stills Gallery – Featuring a few stills from “Going Places”.
- Theatrical Trailer – The original French theatrical trailer to “Going Places”.
Make no doubt that “Going Places” is one of the most unique, dark sexual comedies ever made.
The film is audacious, each time these men get into trouble, you are just shocked about their actions. The fact is that Jean-Claude and Pierrot are the most immoral men you can think of. They are insensitive, they only care about living for the now and that is to have sex as much as they can and to rob as many people as they can, when they want to. But unlike other films which showcase the characters as immoral to the point that they are psychotic lunatics, these two characters come off as hilarious, perverted thieves.
The film never gets boring and the things that these men do are shocking but yet very amusing in an entertaining way! For example, when Marie-Ange is dropped off by the guys to her home, they request to touch the hairs on her butt and both men start sniffing their fingers. The next scene features these guys paying a woman who just gave birth on a train to nurse Pierrot, or how much time is put into both men trying to sexually satisfy Marie-Ange as she just lies there, not knowing what an orgasm is. Or a scene when Jean-Claude jokes around with his friend about doing naughty things together and what we see is a naked Jean-Claude grabbing Pierrot from behind. Did they do something together? All we know is that Pierrot felt disgrace of what his friend has done, but is he walking with a limp because of his injury or because his buddy did something to his rear end?
Bertrand Blier obviously tried to make a film that manages to capture men’s sexual fantasy without it becoming a porno.
And while the film is known for its shocking scenes, for me, as a cineaste, I was more shocked to see legendary French actress Jeanne Morreau in such a sexual film. Granted, the actress is not fully nude but she engages in the kinkiest scenes with both men, and to top it off, she does something that will shock viewers (I didn’t expect that scene to happen).
Needless to say, this is a French film that could never be pulled off in America. Granted, Nagisa Oshima would go even farther with the sex in his Japanese/French film production of the controversial “In the Realm of Senses” but this is a film that will not please everyone. This film is indeed sexual fantasy to the nth degree and considering it’s a ’70s film, women are not exactly treated the best in this film. They are seen as sexual beings that these two men prey on and a scene that looks at menopause in a negative light, female viewers may be the most objective towards this film.
I’m not necessarily sure if this film was made to spite the sexual revolution or this is Bertrand Blier’s style of filmmaking but “Going Places” is one of those sex comedies of the 1970’s that manages to be offensive but at the same time, you can’t help but be entertained by its characters and audacious storyline. I don’t think there is a film that can even compare to “Going Places”. It’s so off-the-wall that you are often wondering what crazy antics these two delinquents will get themselves into.
While the Blu-ray release features very good picture quality and a pretty good lossless monaural track, I wish there were more in terms of special features. I wish there were classic interviews included but what we have is a near barebones Blu-ray release with the theatrical trailer and a few stills from the film. But because of its HD upgrade, those who owned the old Anchor Bay DVD release will want to upgrade to this Blu-ray version for the better clarity.
Overall, for those who were entertained by this film decades ago or those wanting something different in French cinema will definitely find this Blu-ray release of “Going Places” to be quite offensive but also quite entertaining. It’s a dark comedy that can only be made in France and it’s possibly the most original film when it comes to exploring erotic farce and men’s sexual fantasy without being pornographic.
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