Trans-Europ-Express & Successive Slidings of Pleasure

Production Year: 1966
Release Date: 2/11/14
Studio: Kino

Kino-Redemption has a pretty good track record when it comes to the sleaze and with their February releases they show no signs of changing course.  Before we get into the thick of things I do want to address that unfortunately these reviews will not feature any screen caps due to some technicallissues on my end.  Last Fall I began capturing image directly from the disc giving an accurate representation of the transfer's quality, prior to that I used a digital camera which gave what I feel to be inaccurate results.  Not wanting to revert back to that poor quality I've chosen to just do this review sans captures.  As you will read later, I can attest to the qualty of these releases.  Anyhow, onto the films!

Trans-Europ-Express is a self aware neo-noir about a group of filmmakers on a train.  During their journey they begin to pen out a film involving a drug dealer who is carrying a stash of cocaine from Belgium to Antwerp.  I'm sure this would be a mundane trip for seasoned criminals, but this task is complicated by everything from shakedowns to run-ins with a possible double agent.  As the group delve deeper into the story the plot becomes more twisted and the roles of each begin to blur.  Trans-Europ-Express is the more straight forward of the two Grillet releases and I found myself really enjoying it.  For those (like myself) who are new to the director, I'd say this is certainly the film to start with.

Successive Slidings of Pleasure
Production Year: 1974
Release Date: 02/11/2014
Studio: Kino

Onto 1974's Successive Slidings of Pleasure, this one is certainly an acid trip of a film.  A young woman is locked away in a convent when her roommate is found bound and murdered.  During her incarceration she is involved with a plethora of strange antics involving horned-up priests, lesbianism, and mannequins.  Looking back, it's really hard to sum up this film, it's even hard to categorize.  Is it exploitation?  Sexploitation?  I think it falls into a group all it's own, let's call it "surrealist-sleaze."  The film is somewhat non-linear and is really left up to one's interpretation.  I will say that it, like Trans-Europ-Express, is beautifully shot and directed.

While some artifacts due to age do show, both of these films have never looked better.  As far as I know these blu-rays are the first official US releases for these two films, what luck that a company like Kino are able to handle their debut releases.  Given the history and age of these films I was quite surprised by the clarity presented.  The French Audio tracks also hold their own with nice levels and great clarity.  

Both films share the same special features with the exception of the two interviews

Successive Slidings of Pleasure Interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet (SD 34:09) - A nice featurette featuring the French director who reveals the origins of the sleaze-filled odd film.  Apparently the film started out as a bet between the director and the producer, gambling that a low budget film could gross more than a big budget studio picture.

Trans-Europ-Express Interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet (SD 32:43) - Director Robbe-Grillet discusses Trans-Europ-Express and the inspirations behind the film. 

Three Trailers for the Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet (HD 09:22) - Trailers for Eden and After, The man Who Lies, and Trans-Europ-Express

2014 Promo short (HD 02:08) - Just a collection of clips from various Alain Robbe Grillet films. Looks like we can expect to see more releases from this director in the future!

French film fans rejoice!  These are the releases you've been waiting for.  Joining the ranks of their Rollin Collection, Kino gives each of Robbe-Grillet's films the first class treatment with a handful of extras, English subtitles, and great transfers.


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