Fruits of Passion (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes in white:

This film is more or less in the same artistic tradition of "In the Realm of the Senses". Like that one, it is a French-Japanese joint effort about the Orient with a highly developed aesthetic sense and supercharged eroticism.

Unlike "Senses", this one is about China, and has no violence to speak of. It is a filmed version of "Flowers of Passion", Pauline Reage's sequel to "The Story of O".

In my opinion, it is very artistic. The set and art design are obviously done with very developed sensibilities and a real love for the Chinese style.

It's also steamy. Klaus Kinski wrote in his autobiography that they were really doin' the nasty in this movie. Kinski was nutty as a fruitcake, and he said a lot of crazy stuff in his life, but this one rings true of you see the scenes between him and Dombasle, or between him and the hooker. And obviously, the famous Illiers on-screen blowjob couldn't have been faked.

Is it a good movie? Heck I don't know. There's not plot, and I think everything else about it is awful, but it's beautifully imaged, well-performed, and has a lot of sex and nudity. I guess that alone isn't such a bad resume for any film.

I also thought it was really boring and not a little bit pretentious. It seems to me that all the Chinese people were played by obviously Japanese people. The film is filled with excessive gravitas, is completely humorless, and makes use of pointlessly arty symbolism and dialogue. I have a pretty limited tolerance for shadow-puppet plays with a life independent of the objects they reflect, and pianos rising out of, then drowning back into, the river. So fast forward to the next sex scene when these things happen.

They threw in some blather about love versus lust, and some socio-political content about the liberation of China from imperialism, but so what? They don't care about those things, and neither should you in this context. It isn't a political thriller or a love story or any traditional film format. It's just a visually interesting movie about a woman who agrees to learn about love in a bordello in order to master the art for her lover. Take it for what it is, and it's impressive. It is more or less its own genre - the artistic softcore porn film with real actors and semi-literary roots.

I was so impressed with the art design that I called in Elya to watch part of it, and she agreed with me on the artistic side, but she said, "you didn't say it was a horror movie". I had to explain to her that Klaus Kinski really looks like that without make-up. He wasn't playing a vampire or a zombie, but an English businessman. That was the real Kinski, and that is pretty damned scary, to be sure.


Significant nudity from the two female stars (Isabelle Illiers and Arielle Dombasle) and plenty more from incidental characters. Graphic sexual content. The film would be NC-17 if re-released, and is harder than average even within that category.

Tuna's comments in yellow:

Fruits of Passion (1981) appears to be a forgotten film. There are few reviews anywhere on the net that I could find, and there are only 35 votes at IMDB. Directed by noted Japanese director Shuji Terayama, it is a sequel to the Story of O and stars Klaus Kinski as Sir Stephan, Isabelle Illiers in her debut as "O", and Arielle Dombastle as another of Sir Stephan's girlfriends. O is taken to Hong Kong and made to work in a brothel as the next step in her education. Meanwhile, the Boxer Rebellion is starting around her, and Stephan is ignoring her more and more.  

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen letterboxed 1.66:1.

This film has less discipline and S & M than the first O story, and is mostly about submission with a little bondage thrown in. The locations are spectacular, and the photography creates some memorable images. The acting is good, the pace could have been a little faster, and the plot is a little thin, but this is erotica we are talking about with major stars. Anchor Bay did a good job on the DVD transfer, and included a mini-bio of Kinski.

I just rewatched it. The story isn't as good as I thought the first time through, but the imagery and nudity were even better than I remembered. This film is a C as erotica, but would be lower as a drama.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Speaking for both reviewers, Tuna says, "Based on this description, this film is a C as erotica, but would be lower as a drama."

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