I added the question mark because I get annoyed when people make blanket statements like "Worst film of all-time." To me, however, I have never seen a film that was so well made on so many levels while pursuing such jaw-dropping territory. I had to give this Italian (French?) film props here because it really deserves to be seen even though it doesn't appear to be on DVD (I watched an OOP Prism VHS) and has a scant 70 votes on IMDB. This lack of a following surprises me because:
1) it features Franco Nero in the slimiest non-violent role I have ever seen him in.
2) memorable camerawork by Storraro which employs a Bava-like strobe at the end to heartbreaking/blood-chilling effect.
3) director Salvatore Samperi has had other more available erotic films of note (Malice, Dark Side of Love), but I'd be surprised if others reach this pitch.
4) the film manages other levels (dominance/submission games of a personal and international level) by setting the film in WW2 France, but this never distracts the film from its main focus.
5) The main focus is a love affair (without the love), between a married shop-owner and her errand boy. Nothing new there, but I love how this film shifts on a dime, making us laugh at Nero testing the waters with his boss just before he turns the tables on her, sending her on a downward spiral into sexual perversion that results in the greatest sacrifice of all, and it isn't death (that would be too easy.) I don't wish to give anything away, but if you get off on situational fantasies of submission (not just rape or pretty faces) then much of this will play like those fantasies realized, although it is also very upsetting and heartbreaking at the same time.
A film like Emanuelle's Revenge may have more pornographic material and a kinkier idea of S & M, but this film is so well made (even down to its great score) that its claws go in far deeper and I won't be forgetting it anytime soon. Anyone else seen it?