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Love Express. The Disappearance of Walerian Borowczyk Review

Love Express captures the essence of Walerian Borowczyk, from his innocent dream of being a middle school teacher of art, to his eventual status as a renowned erotic filmmaker. Walerian’s departure from Poland to live in France, which he felt embodied freedom, primarily artistic freedom, defined how he pursued his goals.  Borowczyk’s passion, which was rooted in animation, was drenched with sensualism and fluidity. These attributes would help Borowczyk pave the way as a revolutionary. However, his passion of breaking barriers in pursuit of freedom, would ultimately lead to the decline of his career.

At Borowczyk’s peak, his meticulous nature allowed him near complete control of his projects, which would contain his most revered works such at Goto, Island of Love and The Beast. The latter pushed the envelope for featuring erotic themes, some particularly taboo, like bestiality. Groundbreaking at the time, Borowczyk was crucial in bringing sexuality to the forefront of film, which was not the case in France during the 1960s and 1970’s. Borowczyk accused of being perverted, openly accepted the title, but poignantly stated he was only producing what his audiences desired.

With great success, brought the downfall of Walerian Borowczyk. Labeled as a pornographer, his talents were only sought for his expertise in eroticism and would ultimately be manipulated by his donors. Once his scripts were being altered from his original vision and donors began added additional sex scenes to the script, Borowczyk lost his edge and his work was no longer as prominent. In conjunction with the barriers he brought down, the novelty of Borowczyk’s work began to diminish. The barrier that he fought to bring down was gone, his work was no longer revolutionary.

Hailed as an international film genius, there were also flaws to his genius. His desire to strive towards artistic freedom, often excluded women’s fantasy, and focused solely on men’s passion and desires. It garnered the labels that trapped Borowczyk within a genre that he revolutionized and led to his burnout as an artist and deprived him of telling the stories he wanted to tell. He would retreat into animation, as his last bastion to have complete control over his story telling.

The film captures the scope of Walerian Borowczyk’s life, from his roots to the twilight of his career in an honest fashion. You are introduced to Borowczyk’s world and get to see what makes him tick. Despite being given the title of pervert, you realize that we all possess erotic and sensual thoughts, which he made acceptable to depict in film. His influence is apparent from impact on modern artists, and justifies a documentary covering his life and works.

Himena Aoki-McGuire

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