Language Of Love/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
This Swedish documentary is often erroneously referred to (even on the cover of the UK DVD release) as the movie that Robert De Niro takes Cybill Shepherd to see on their first date in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’. The Lyric's grindhouse marquee announces a double-bill of ‘Sometimes Sweet Susan’ and ‘The Swedish Marriage Manual’, the latter being one of ‘Language Of Love’s apparent export titles, however none of the footage seen on screen in the Scorsese movie appears in the film. ‘Taxi Driver’ wasn’t made until 1976 so it’s possible that the ‘Swedish Marriage Manual’ in question is actually one of ‘Language Of Love’s sequels.
A group of 4 doctors and psychologists sit around chain-smoking and drinking tea and discussing society’s attitudes to sex, studies of sexual behaviour, sex in art and culture as well as sexual fantasies and neurosis. The academic chat is spiced up with short scenes depicting the many wonders of ‘love’ which include nudists rolling around in snow and some wiggly, and almost naked, go-go dancers.
There are cartoon depictions of male and female genitalia including an animated erection which fires off a volley of projectiles like some kind of sci-fi laser stun gun leading me to believe that George Lucas may have been influenced by this film when he made ‘Star Wars’.
The most explicit sex scene employs DePalma-esque split screen techniques to cover all the angles, complete with more spunky cartoons. Raincoat wearers in the audience will find the appearance of 2 eye-wateringly graphic gynaecological examinations likely to put them off their stroke, however fans of Italian ‘mondo’ documentaries will no doubt get a Nietzschean kick out of staring into the abyss, if you catch my drift.
Apparently several thousand outraged people protested in Trafalgar Square when ‘Language Of Love’ was shown in cinemas in London in the early 1970s, but for modern audiences it’s impossible to listen to Dr. Hegeler proclaim: “I should like to mention the practise of satisfying one’s self” and keep a straight face.
I guess the ultimate test for any sex education film is whether the viewer learns anything from it. I learned a lot from watching ‘Language Of Love’.
Ladies watch out.