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  Little Mother Voice Of The People
Year: 1973
Director: Radley Metzger
Stars: Siegfried Rauch, Christiane Krüger, Ivan Desny, Mark Damon, Anton Diffring, Elga Sorbas, Vida Jerman, Branko Spoljar, Andrea Saric, Ignac Pavkovic, Ivica Pajer, Marina Nemet, Hermina Pipinic, Slobodan Dimitrijevic, Relja Basic, Radley Metzger
Genre: Drama, Trash, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Marina Pinares (Christiane Krüger) is the wife of Colonel Pinares (Siegfried Rauch) who happens to be the leader of this South American country, but how did she get to this position of power, widely regarded as the one who is really controlling things behind the scenes? She is very well loved by her public who call her "Little Mother" as the spiritual emblem of their nation, but her opponents - she does have a few - wonder if they would like her quite as much had they known about the people she has exploited in her journey to the top. As she prepares to make another speech to her citizens, let us look back over Marina's life to understand what has made her the huge success she is now...

Radley Metzger will forever be known, if indeed he is known forever, as the man who tried to make sex respectable in the movies. Not for him the tawdry porn scene which aimed at the lowest common denominator, he was destined for a classier market, and had ambitions as a serious filmmaker rather than some cigar-chewing gangster mogul out to make a fast buck out of hiring hotel rooms to capture down on their luck men and women seeking to make a bit of cash out of being used for sex by the money men. No, Metzger had a genuine drive to tell his stories through the medium of sex scenes, and he made both hardcore and softcore efforts to that end, of which this was one of the latter.

Not only was it one of his softcore movies, it was quite unlike anything either he made or for that matter anyone else would have tried: a retelling of the life story of Argentinian icon Eva Peron with emphasis on her sex life, only with the names changed so as not to offend anyone. Nevertheless, how many other twentieth century, blonde, South American country leader's wives were there whose biographical details matched the protagonist's here? It was fairly plain to see what Metzger was getting at, even if it was difficult to fathom what had attracted him to the material, after all when you think political filmmaking your mind doesn't immediately go to the creators of porn, in fact it would be surprising if it ever did as statesmen and sex only go together in scandal form.

And this was a stateswoman, who is endeavouring to become a Vice-President to increase her influence, so it was a good thing the real Peron had died many years before and was not around to complain about her ruthless portrayal. In that manner you could just about perceive what the director was drawn to here, showing a powerful woman who takes charge in the palace just as much as she does in the bedroom, but even so the sexual content was nowhere near as much as you would have anticipated from this talent. Certainly there were the occasional full frontals from the leading lady (daughter of Hardy Krüger, here embarking on a long career of mostly German roles) and she did simulate sex a couple of times, but in the main this was about the politics.

In that way you could speculate Metzger had watched the big budget trash epic of three years before The Adventurers and it had inspired him to tell another tale of South American intrigue, albeit on lower funds, though filming in Yugoslavia evidently did give him access to unexpectedly lavish surroundings and a fair few extras for the crowd scenes, which offered a more detailed appearance to the proceedings - no cardboard cut-outs here, there really did seem to be a few hundred people standing out there in the elements for Marina's big speeches. If you wanted to learn something about Eva Peron's rise to fame from lowly actress to personality to wife of the most powerful man in the land, then Little Mother would at least give you a crash course, though with the sexual element you were always aware the film may be embellishing events. Even so, this was a very grave and sincere movie, possibly too much in that respect as no matter the occasional arty raunch of a seduction behind a shower screen, it was a dour, grim-faced experience otherwise, its intended audience hard to identify.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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