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The Many Sins of Walerian Borowczyk

The Many Sins of Walerian Borowczyk

From his early, influential animated shorts and his brief moment of international acclaim for his features in the late ’60s and early ’70s, to his evolution into pornography-tinged art (or is it art-tinged pornography?) films, Polish director Walerian Borowczyk has always provoked audiences and pushed boundaries. Our survey covers the entire range of his career, beginning with an early collaboration with Chris Marker and ending with an exploration of the sexual mores of the ’80s.

BEHIND CONVENT WALLS

Walerian Borowczyk Italy, 1978

Off to Italy for Walerian Borowczyk, who takes inspiration from Stendhal for a classic setting of sexual repression, oppression, and uninhibited release: a nunnery! Co-starring Borowczyk’s wife Ligia Branice (La Jetée) and shot in glorious soft-focus glowing light by Dario Argento’s cinematographer.

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THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE

Walerian Borowczyk West Germany, 1981

Robert Louis Stevenson’s sinister modern fairy tale of respectable surfaces and beastly underbellies is the perfect playground for the moral inquiry and surreal excess Walerian Borowczyk seeks. Riffing on the source with frenzied abandon, it also stars the great Udo Kier as the two-faced Doctor!

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LOVE RITES

Walerian Borowczyk France, 1987

Walerian Borowczyk’s final film is relatively more sexually restrained than the dizzyingly pink heights of his late 60s and 70s cinema. Had he mellowed with age? Nonetheless, Boro’s adaptation of André Pieyre de Mandiargues’s novel still plunges into contemporary sexual mores with gleeful abandon.