Monday, 30 July 2018

Housewife Report (3 Stars)

Can you guess what this is? Yes, you're right, this is my 3000th post since I started my blog on 14th September 2010.

My 1000th post was published on 22nd October 2013.

My 2000th post was published on 18th April 2016.

Today I'm writing my 3000th post on 30th July 2018.

If I plotted those dates on a graph it would look like my speed of writing is increasing, but I won't make a big deal of it. It might slow down in the future. I keep on saying I want to cut down on my films in order to catch up on the television series I like. I haven't got around to doing this yet, but if I do that it'll slow down my written output. Maybe next year. At the moment there are still so many films I want to watch.

"Housewife Report" (original German title "Hausfrauen-Report") was made in 1971 as an adult alternative to the highly successful "Schoolgirl Report" (1970). A series of six films was made from 1971 to 1977, but they never reached the same popularity as the Schoolgirl Report films. Maybe it's because the topic wasn't as controversial, but it could also be because the director Eberhard Schröder wasn't of the same calibre as the directors who made the Schoolgirl Report films.

"Housewife Report" is structured the same way as the first Schoolgirl Report film. Eight short vignettes are shown, separated by interviewers approaching random people on the streets of Munich to ask their opinions about divorce. I might have thought the interviews were genuine if I hadn't recognised the first woman interviewed. It's Rosl Mayr, the star of almost 100 films from 1952 to 1981. She's such a well known face in Germany that it's obvious she was shown first so that the viewers would know that the interviews aren't meant to be taken seriously. They're all scripted.

And what does Rosl have to say about the rapid increase in the German divorce rate? "I blame it on the Italians. Women leave their husbands because the Italians are so good in bed".

That sets the tone for the later informative discussions. When the film speaks of divorce it's always about women leaving men, not the other way round. Several reasons are given for the increase in the annual German divorce rate from 47,000 in 1969 to 57,000 in 1970.

1. Male potency decreases with age.

2. The advertising media gives women unrealistic expectations about sex.

3. Older women want a second chance to get the sex that they missed out on when they were young.

4. Today's women are emancipated and are prepared to leave if they don't get what they want.

Of course, the second and third reasons could apply just as much to men wanting a divorce, but the film is one-sided.

After the initial explanatory speeches people are sent out into Munich to visit women at home who have filled out questionnaires. The young couple Bernd and Brigitte Mittler are followed. They interview eight married women. What's common to all eight women is that they've had sex with other men. The question of divorce is secondary. Most of them want to stay with their husbands after refreshing their marriage by having an affair.

I'll just point out one of the women. Edith Heimann is the wife of a wealthy marketing director. She's played by Sybil Danning, who was 18 at the time. That's amazing. I'm a fan of Sybil Danning, but I couldn't recognise her in the film. If she hadn't been listed in the credits I wouldn't have suspected it was her. Moreover, she doesn't look anywhere near 18. In the photo above I would have guessed her age between 35 and 40.

Maybe she looks a bit younger with her hair open, but I'd still guess her age at 25.

This isn't one of the best erotic films of the 1970's, but it offers an interesting view of German culture.

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