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Thursday, July 02, 2009

DVD Review: My Body Burns

My Body Burns

DVD Released: April 7th, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 80 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Le Chat Qui Fum
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

The Film

My Body Burns is based on the case of Bruay-en-Artois, in which the body of Brigitte Dewèvre was found in a small town located in northern France known as Bruay-la-Buissière. Rumor placed the blame on the local notary of murdering the young girl and would provide strong enough gossip that he was eventually brought to trail for the killing. Litigation was overseen by Judge Henri Pascal, who dismissed the charges, much to the chagrin of the French public.

Furious over the mishandling of the case, Pallardy began filming MY BODY BURNS (Dossier érotique d'un notaire), shortly after finishing his first feature, UNSATISFIED (L' Insatisfaite). The film would find Pallardy in hot water as it was removed from theaters after one week from numerous complaints. Similarities with the lead character's occupation to that of the accused, and Claude Sendron’s apparent stunning likeness to Judge Pascal, lead both men to bring charges against Pallardy. After talking with the distributor, it was decided that it was the use of the word “notary” that would eventually be their down fall, if the case was ever brought to court. As such, the film was stripped of the word entirely, mere days before being screened by those assigned to follow up on the complaints.

This action would explain numerous sudden cuts and jumps in the film as well as one massive error, found just before the film's 44 minute mark. In the scene, Georges Guéret and Jacques Insermini, both regular Pallardy players, are informing the notary of the dirty gossip that is being spread about him around town. There is a line of dialogue that is repeated, that is hard to miss given that what is being discussed is the notion that Claude is a "queer after young boys."

I thought that the film was slow and felt liked it was forced. The sex seemed forced. The rare comedic moments seemed forced. The drama was.. you guessed it. Forced. I know what Pallardy was trying to do, but when you force it, it usually won’t work. It doesn’t feel natural. It does win my vote for the least erotic film with the words Classics Of French Erotica on the cover.

Transfer And Audio

The film looks okay for the age of the original. I thought it came across as a little fuzzy and washed out. Not really bad, just a little noticeable. The subtitles were easy to read.


The Erotic Journal of Jean-Marie Pallardy (60 minutes)
French Erotica Trailers
A hundred photos from the director’s private collection


I don’t know. After my introduction recently to Danish Erotica I expected something more from its French equivalent. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was more like the fare that Seduction Cinema releases under their Retro division.

Review by Douglas Waltz

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