Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan 1987
1h 35min | Comedy | 6 January 1987 (Italy)
Roger (Fabrice Josso) is a 16-year-old who seeks to lose his virginity in this softcore erotic drama. His initial efforts are unsuccessful, but World War I breaks out and men are seen marching off to battle. Roger goes overboard when he is presented with several amorous opportunities. He soon impregnates the maid, his aunt, and his sister in quick succession. Roger desperately tries to marry off the women to other men to avoid a lurid scandal.
In setting and story, this film is fairly similar to David Hamilton’s Tendres Cousines. In both films, we have the sexual awakening of a male teenager during the outbreak of WWI as the centre piece of the story. In both films, the viewer largely experiences the story through this boy. In both films, the outbreak of war is used to make women more ‘available’ to him, since the adult males are conscripted or volunteer for the army. In both films, he makes use of that – first cautiously, then with increased confidence and vigour.
But while Mingozzi must have seen Tendres Cousines, his film is not a carbon-copy by any means. Hamilton’s film closes with a romantic happy ending that just does not ring true and Mingozzi avoids this fault. Our Roger may be hormonally oversupplied, but the find-a-girl-to-settle-down hormone is nowhere to be seen. Keeping the plot bubbling along was also not one of Hamilton’s strengths – he focuses on scenes and lighting, while ‘Exploits…’ is overall a more rounded picture.
Perhaps the most striking difference between both films are the objects of sexual interest. In Hamilton’s case the word “nymphettes” inevitably springs to mind, while Mingozzi’s objects of desire are less obscure – quite simply “women”, of different ages and shapes. In particular, Hamilton lets his older women (meaning: older than 22!) hint at expressing their sexual desires, but cruelly these desires always remain unsatisfied – Mingozzi is much more merciful in that respect.
Director: Gianfranco Mingozzi
Writers: Guillaume Apollinaire (novel), Jean-Claude Carrière
Stars: Serena Grandi, Claudine Auger, Marina Vlady
Country: France | Italy
Release Date: 6 January 1987 (Italy)
Also Known As: What Every Frenchwoman Wants
Filming Locations: Château de Béhoust, Béhoust, Yvelines, France