La Bête (film)  

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"Les rêves inquiets sont réellement une folie passagère" --epigraph


Walerian Borowczyk is not a household word (unless you live in a halfway house), and it’s not likely The Beast, also known as The Beast in Heat, will make him one. This legendary film was banned in Britain on its release. What was the problem? Perhaps the literal horse dicks in the opening scene of a stallion mounting a mare? A pederastic old priest smooching with a nubile youth? A ravishing naked girl giving a very long blow job (in lurid closeup) to the title creature, a sort of giant rat-man? The film is a demented mix of the Marquis de Sade in its vitriolic anticlericalism and Beauty and the Beast in its quasi-zoophilia, but going much further than Cocteau. Borowyczyk was an equal-opportunity offender, obsessively recycling the image of horses screwing and the “beast” getting head. There’s also a black butler, a very un-p.c. fuckhound who says “yassuh.” (Penisspotters will appreciate the sight of his hard dick.) --Gary Morris

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

La Bête (Eng: The Beast) is a 1975 film written and directed by Walerian Borowczyk, starring Sirpa Lane, based on Lokis, a story by Prosper Mérimée. The film (originally conceived in 1972 as a film on its own, but then in 1974 as the fifth story in Contes immoraux) belonged to his later work, which was seen by many as a decline in the director's career after The Story of Sin, except in France, where it was hailed by critics such as Ado Kyrou.

The music consists of harpsichord pieces by Domenico Scarlatti.

Contents

Synopsis

Once upon a time in the 18th century a beast lived in the woods of an aristocratic estate. And this beast, possessed of a giant phallus and an insatiable lust, set upon the beautiful young lady of the house. Two centuries later, the tale of the beast would return in the dreams of an American heiress contracted to carry the male descendant of the same crumbling aristocratic family and their secret.

Plot

Philip Broadhurst, a wealthy businessman, dies and leaves his entire estate to his daughter Lucy, on condition that within six months of his death she marries Mathurin, the son of his best friend the Marquis Pierre de l'Esperance, and that they must be married by Cardinal Joseph do Balo, the brother of Pierre's uncle, the crippled Duc Rammendelo de Balo, who shares their crumbling farmhouse with Pierre's daughter Clarisse, and their servant Ifany, whom we see copulating with Clarisse at every opportunity.

The problem is that Mathurin, who manages the family horse-breeding business, is dim-witted and deformed, and as a result has never been baptised. Pierre summons the local choirboy-loving priest to the house for the baptism, but Pierre, by promising the priest repairs to his church and a new bell, performs the ritual himself so that the priest doesn't find out the truth about Mathurin.

Lucy and her aunt, Virginia, are driven by their chauffeur towards the farm but their way is blocked by a fallen tree. They find a back route to the house but end up at the stables where they see two horses copulating. Lucy eagerly takes some photographs, much to the disgust of her aunt. They eventually arrive at a back door to the house, where Lucy asks Rammaendelo about ghostly rumours she has heard about the family. Rammaendelo, who is not in favour of the marriage because he is dependent on Mathurin to look after him, shows her a book that describes the beautiful Romilda's fight with a beast in the local forest 200 years ago. Looking around the house, Lucy comes across several drawings depicting bestiality, and becomes sexually excited at the thought of her impending marriage, even though she has never met Mathurin.

Pierre blackmails Rammaendelo into persuading his brother to perform the marriage by telling him that he has proof that Rammaendelo poisoned his wife. However, Rammaendelo is unable to get through to the Cardinal on the telephone. Pierre sends a telegram instead, assuring him that Mathurin has been baptised and urging him to attend that very evening.

Everyone assembles for dinner, and Mathurin's uncouth manners soon become apparent. Lucy and her aunt try to leave, but are persuaded to stay. Everyone having drunk too much wine, most of the assembly fall asleep while waiting up for the Cardinal. Lucy retires to her room, undresses, puts on her thin wedding dress, and dreams that she is Romilda, playing a harpsichord. Seeing a lamb straying into the forest, she chases after it to find that it has been torn apart by a black hairy beast.

Meanwhile, Pierre overhears Rammaendelo on the telephone to the Cardinal trying to dissuade him from performing the marriage.

Angrily interrupting the conversation, Pierre cuts Rammaendelo's throat with a razor and tears the phone out of the wall.

In the continuing comic dream sequence, the beast chases Lucy through the forest. She loses most of her clothing in the process and ends up hanging by her arms from a branch, and the beast licks her and masturbates. Lucy wakes in a sweat. Was it just a dream? She tiptoes to Mathurin's room but he is asleep, fully clothed, on his bed. Lucy returns to her room, masturbates, and dreams that the beast is copulating with her. She finds she enjoys it. She wakes again and is convinced that Mathurin must have visited her. She visits his room again but he is still sleeping soundly.

Lucy eagerly returns to her dream. The beast continues to masturbate and Lucy rubs his ejaculate all over herself. Eventually the beast dies of exhaustion. Lucy wakes and walks into Mathurin's room to find him dead on the floor. She runs naked through the house screaming, and everyone runs to her aid. Virginia examines Mathurin's body and discovers that a plaster cast on his arm is concealing a claw for a hand. Pulling his clothes off reveals that he is covered in thick black hair and has a tail. They run out of the house in terror just as the Cardinal arrives to find out what is going on. Virginia comforts the terrified Lucy as they speed away in the car, and Lucy dreams that she is naked in the forest again, burying the beast.

Fiche technique

Distribution

See also

Notes

  • Leviticus
    • Leviticus 20:15-16 If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed. If a woman presents herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it, she and the animal must both be put to death. You must kill both, for they are guilty of a capital offense.




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