Private Vices, Public Pleasures  

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"There’s a ten-minute-or-so sex sequence near the end of the film, which removes the huge supporting cast and only gives us various combinations or subsets of the foursome. Disappointingly, and in contrast to everything else in the movie, this is shot more or less in cliched Eurotrash style, with lots of upper-body and head-and-lips closeups, and nondiegetic, conventionally “romantic” music — instead of the roving camera and incessant brass bands. Despite the conventionality of this sequence (is it meant to be ironic? or was it forced upon Jancso by the Italian financiers of the film?) it does look (as far as I could tell, given the lack of explicit pornographic detail) like first Rudolph penetrates Mary, and then she penetrates him."--Steven Shaviro

"... to see the film Private Vices, Public Pleasures, directed by Miklós Jancsó of The Round-Up fame, at the picture house in Whiteladies Road, Bristol, a film which, much to Angela's amusement, featured a full-frontal Welsh hermaphrodite in the ..."--Inside the Bloody Chamber: Aspects of Angela Carter (2015) by Christopher Frayling

"The sexual aspect manages to be completely forthright (it centres on the figure of a hermaphrodite) but not at all prurient; as if Freud's 'polymorphous perversity' were the ultimate weapon against patriarchal tyranny."--Time Out

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Private Vices, Public Pleasures (Vizi privati, pubbliche virtù) is a 1976 Italian-Yugoslavian drama film directed by Miklós Jancsó. It was entered into the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.

The film is said to be an interpretation of the Mayerling affair.

The film is reminiscent of The Beast (1975).


In the nineteenth century, a young crown prince - never named, but identifiable as Archduke Rudolph, son of Franz Joseph I and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne - loses interest in the affairs of state and leads a frivolous and dissolute life in a secluded villa. He devotes most of his days to sexual relations with his mistress Mary, as well as with his half-sister and half-brother (adulterous children of the emperor) and his maid Therese. Towards the end of the film, Mary reveals herself to be a "hermaphrodite". The prince ruthlessly dismisses his father's emissaries who are trying to get him back to court.

He invites to the villa the daughters and sons of the most influential families of the Empire and has champagne served with an aphrodisiac powder. The evening turns into a frenzy as the prince announces the abdication of his father and proclaims himself emperor. While a Hungarian folk music group plays in the garden, the young people undress and an orgy takes place in the villa during the whole night, while the prince takes pictures of the show. A general, who has come to try to bring the prince to his senses, is abused by the guests and sodomized by Mary.

In the early morning, imperial soldiers arrive in the villa, evacuate the guests, then murder the prince and his lover, whose death they make up as a suicide and a drama of passion.


See also

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