The night before her wedding, American heiress Lucy Broadhurst (Sirpa Lane) arrives at her aristocratic fiancé’s secluded French country estate and learns about a legendary beast that stalks the nearby woods. That night she dreams of an erotic encounter with the half-man half-beast…
This bizarre, yet beautifully shot erotic fairytale is Walerian Borowczyk’s most notorious film. Expanded from the planned Immoral Tales segment, The Beast (The Bête) sees the director at his most extreme. In turns silly, nasty, comic, disturbing and (for those in the back row) voyueristically arousing, it cemented Borowczyk’s reputation as the ‘arty pornographer’, which began after he showed his vintage erotica short A Private Collection and an early version of Immoral Tales in 1974.
With its heavy overtones of bestiality and blatant appropriation of pornographic images, it’s no wonder censors around the world took a hefty pair of scissors to it or banned it outright. But, ever the provocateur, Borowczyk had a wry smile at the censors and his critics, because lurking behind what must be the most outrageous erotic fantasy ever committed to film is a playful satire on sex and desire.
THE UK DUAL FORMAT RELEASE
Receiving its Blu-ray world premiere, this new 2k high-definition restoration by Argos Films. The Arrow Films dual format release (which includes a standard definition DVD) includes the following elements…
• New high definition digital transfers of the feature and the shorts, with uncompressed mono 2.0 PCM audio and optional English subtitles
• Introduction by film critic Peter Bradshaw (2014)
• The Making of The Beast (2014), camera operator Noël Véry provides a commentary on footage shot during the film’s production
• Frenzy of Ecstasy: The Evolution of the Beast, (2014), visual essay on the evolution of Borowczyk’s beast and the sequel that never was, Motherhood
• Venus on the Half-Shell (1975), Borowczyk’s portrait of the painter Bona Tibertelli de Pisis and her erotic fusions of men, women and molluscs
• Original trailer