Midnight Party / La Coccolona / La Partouze de Minuit (1976)
Jess Franco’s film about kidnapping, spies and sex but mostly sex, starring Lina Romay’s body.
In directing over 200 films our dear Jess has given birth to films featuring philosophers, monsters, spies, prisoners, sadists and religious fanatics; he also directed porn featuring the same. More often than not he rode a line betwixt the two, but unfortunately, this one errs on the porn side of things.
Getting Lina naked is pretty much the gravitational center for the events of this film. Characters and scenes are orbital moons to her labia. Most scenes gradually shift or instantly cut to Lina’s crotch, and it’s pretty clear it’s the main star of this picture, and Jess’s interest.
Lina lures us into the story with a seductive narration that consists mostly of purrs, meows and writhing, and is intercut throughout the film. Through this and other means Jess breaks, holds down and beats the living shit out of the fourth wall. Pretty much Jess and Lina got a hotel room and he had her wiggle around the bed and say sexy things while he filmed her – and then that footage found its way to being the narration for this film. It’s the ‘use every part of the buffalo’ approach to filmmaking. The sexy fucking buffalo.
loosely moistly follows that Sylvia (Lina) is a dancer at a nightclub, oscillating her osculating between a stay-at-home husband, a capitalist sugar daddy, and a hippie guitarist.
At a party held by Jess Franco’s cameo she is invited to a threesome by a couple who have been ogling her with the rest of us for a few scenes now.
She wakes in the morning to find them murdered, and herself held hostage.
Her two kidnappers decide to have another threesome with her, which despite her circumstances she is quite down with (this is filmed in fast-motion, a bold artistic choice of our mastermind Franco).
Jess enters and spoils their fun, interrogates Lina about the murder, but knowing nothing she cannot earn her freedom.
After a daring escape (karate chopping a captor during cunnilingus) she goes to her sugar daddy’s house and recounts the story while jerking him off, but he doesn’t believe her at all. She seems content either way and another ass-grinding on flaccid dick scene commences.
In the morning her shower masturbation scene is interrupted when she is kidnapped again by Jess’s people.
But this time he’s kidnapped her to apologize for kidnapping her in the first place. Which leads to another fast-motion threesome –we interrupt this threesome to cut to Lina narration/masturbation. We now return you to your regularly scheduled threesome:– between her and her kidnappers.
She’s dropped off at her hippie guitarist boyfriend’s house, who also doesn’t believe her story, so she returns home to her househusband who has typical domestic woes.
But he lends a listening ear to her tale of mild inconvenience by murder, kidnapping and sex.
Lina is then kidnapped a third time, but hippie boyfriend sees the whole thing and even tries to enlist the help of his mortal enemy the capitalist pig (sugar daddy) to save her.
Jess delivers Lina’s unconscious body to… the murdered couple from the party, who are not dead after all and are in fact Albanian secret service!
Capitalism comes in and shoots Albania in the head, and then takes Lina out to the countryside where he declares he must kill her for meddling in the affairs of the CIA.
But hippie boyfriend shoots the capitalist scum first, just as Jess’ kidnappers and the police die in a gun-battle.
Hippie and Lina are united once again.
Narrator Lina masturbates. (Pretty much literally framed as our reward for watching the movie.)
Footnote on wtf: It seems that this Albanian knew Lina was a mistress to the CIA Capitalist, so with Jess’s help he faked his own death hoping that she would report it to the CIA agent and he would believe her and stop his manhunt, but he didn’t.
Every great artist has had a muse (except the ones who don’t), and Lina was Jess’s. He worships her body with his brush camera but unlike a painting which is studied, sketched and perfected (with ample time for muse-fucking in between), film is something you keep and use later, and Jess’s experiments and final concepts are both spliced and cobbled together into his porn film.
Ian Fleming once said: “I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument.”
Jess has a very rare theme that crops up in a few of his movies in which he plays with stereotype roles.
In this film it may be a complete accident*, but I believe Jess takes a traditionally 70’s male-fantasy (escape from real life into Spy Hogwarts – ie has job/housewife at home who nags him about domestic life, but through philandering around with exciting women gets sucked into spy drama through merely existing in the film) and he does a simple gender swap.
* I mean the gender swap isn’t an accident, just look at the lines you quoted from the househusband. I believe that’s played for comedy, what’s accidental is having any of that add up to a commentary on the spy genre imo. Well yeah, the gender swap is fundamentally just a joke. But it’s a play on what you’d expect to see in the genre. It’s intentional to that extent, and whether it really adds up to a commentary… I’m unconvinced.
I think he unconsciously has Fleming’s 007 concept, a blunt instrument to whom things happen, and marries that with his obsession with Lina Romay’s lips (both) and despite watching a crap film, at least I get a fun idea out of it.
But let’s not pretend that Lina’s narration scenes aren’t the best, primary, and only reason to watch this movie. They are the moist, writhing heart and
soul cunt of the whole enterprise.