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Pink Narcissus

Pink Narcissus – 1971
James Bidgood (as Anonymous)

James Bidgood (as Anonymous)

James Bidgood producer (as Anonymous)

Bobby Kendall –
Charles Ludlam – Salesman/Bar owner/Blind man/Pizza maker/Hindu dancer (uncredited)

Review by Gary F Taylor

Pink Narcissus (1971)

A Lush Fantasia of Erotic Art,
Created by photographer James Bidgood, PINK NARCISSUS is a lush, exotic, and remarkably beautiful erotic fantasia that explores the face and body of model Bobby Kendal as he slips in and out of erotic fantasies.

Fantasies which range from bullfights with himself as a matador and the bull as a leather-clad motorcyclist to being held captive for the pleasures of an Arabian ruler. Both the the apartment in which the character lives and the daydreams into which he slips are remarkably designed, recalling such artists as Parrish and Klimt, and the film emphasizes the tactile nature of everything it displays; one of the most memorable moments in the film, for example, are photographs of beads in motion that eventually segue into an erotic dance. The camera also explores Kendall’s exceptional face and body in the same tactile manner, and whatever his actual virtues as a legitimate performer might be he is perfectly at ease with the camera’s voyeuristic joy, and the resulting images are powerful, memorable, and virtually define the term “erotic art.”

It might be supposed that this film appeals primarily to a gay audience, but over the years I have shown it to a great number of friends–male, female, gay, straight–and their response has always been one of fascination; the film exerts a hypnotic allure that few can resist. At the same time, however, I must note several things about the film that some may dislike.

If you expect a purely “skin show” type film or simple pornography, PINK NARCISSUS is likely to frustrate, for it works its magic more via tantalization than blatant nudity; at the same time, however, there is enough graphic behavior in the film to give it an X rating even today. It is also a purely visual film (there is no dialogue of any kind), and it is very much an experimental “underground” 1970s film; as such, it actually does require a certain degree of intellectual effort and interpretation.

These aspects of the film may leave some viewers cold, but those able to enter into its sensual world will find it a powerful bit of erotica.


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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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