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Immoral Tales

Walerian Borowczyk
Contes immoraux
France 1974 / 103’
24.07 uncut version screening, no short film

A youth sets about climaxing in his cousin’s mouth at the moment the tide comes in. A pious young Victorian girl works herself into a religious frenzy with the help of a pornographic novel and a fist full of cucumbers. A Hungarian countess keeps herself eternally young by bathing in virgin’s blood. The Pope and his son have their way with the former’s daughter and the latter’s sister. Four episodes, each rolling back further into the annals history, bound only by a maxim by La Rochefoucauld: Love pleases more by the ways in which it shows itself. A veritable cavalcade of depravity, Immoral Tales features cosmic fellatio, transcendental masturbation, bloody drenched lesbianism and papal incest. Max Ernst was on the jury that awarded Immoral Tales the Prix L’Age d’Or. A box office smash in France, the film spent much of the 1970s embroiled in censorship problems around the world.


Brussels 1974 – L’Age d’Or Award

Walerian Borowczyk

Walerian Borowczyk was born on October 21, 1923 in Kwilcz near Poznań. After the War he studied painting and lithography at the Jan Matejko Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1951. During the early 1950s he made satirical drawings and worked as a lithographer. In 1954 he moved to Warsaw and designed film posters. Later he collaborated on a series of animated films with fellow poster artist, Jan Lenica. In 1959 he moved to Paris where he worked at Les Cinéastes Associés producing short films and commercials. He made his live action feature film debut in 1968 with Goto, Island of Love, which he followed with Blanche in 1971, an adaptation of Juliusz Słowacki’s Mazepa. During the early 1970s, he produced Immoral Tales and The Beast, both of which were critical and box office successes. During the same period, he returned to Poland to direct an adaptation of Stefan Żeromski’s The Story of Sin. In addition to directing several features in France and Italy, he directed several short documentaries on artists as well as an experimental portrait of his adopted city. In 1984 he returned to animation with Scherzo Infernal. In 1992 he published a collection of short stories, L’anatomie du diable. He died in Le Port Marly on February 3, 2006.


1946 Sierpień (short)

1949 Magik / The Magician (short)

1949 Głowa / The Head (short)

1950 Tłum / The Crowd (short)

1954 Photographies vivantes (doc., short)

1954 Atelier de Fernand Léger (doc., short)

1955 Jesień / Autumn (short)

1955 Le modeste photographe (short)

1957 Był sobie raz… / Once Upon a Time (co-dir., anim., short)

1957 Nagrodzone uczucie / Rewarded Feeling (co-dir., anim., short)

1957 Strip-tease / Strip-Tease (co-dir., anim., short)

1957 Sztandar Młodych / Banner of Youth (co-dir., anim., short)

1958 Dom / House (co-dir., anim., short)

1958 Szkoła / The School (anim., short)

1959 Astronauci / Les astronautes / The Astronauts (co-dir., anim., short)

1959 La foule (TV, anim., short)

1959 Terra incognita (anim., short)

1959 Le magicien / The Magician (TV, anim., short)

1959 La tête / The Head (TV, anim., short)

1959 Les stroboscopes: magasins du XIX siècle / Stroboscopes: 18th Century Stores (TV, anim., short)

1960 L’écriture / Writing (TV, anim., short)

1961 La boîte à musique / The Music Box (TV, anim., short)

1961 Les bibliothèques / Libraries (TV, anim., short)

1961 Les écoles / Schools (TV, anim., short)

1962 Koncert pana i pani Kabal / Le concert de M. et Mme. Kabal / The Concert of Mr. and Mrs. Kabal (anim., short)

1962 La fille sage / A Well-Behaved Girl (TV, anim., short)

1963 Encyklopedia babuni w 13 tomach / L’encyclopédie de grand-maman en 13 volumes / Grandma’s Encyclopaedia (anim., short)

1963 Gancia (TV, anim., short)

1963 Holy Smoke (TV, anim., short)

1963 Renesans / Renaissance (anim., short)

1964 Le musée / The Museum(TV, anim., short)

1964 Zabawy aniołów / Les jeux des anges / The Game of the Angels (anim., short)

1965 Słownik Joachima / Le dictionnaire de Joachim / Joachim’s Dictionary (anim., short)

1966 Paluszek / Le petit poucet (TV, anim., short)

1966 Rozalia / Rosalie (short)

1967 Dyptyk / Diptyque / Diptych (short)

1967 Gawot / Gavotte (short)

1967 Teatr pana i pani Kabal / Théâtre de Monsieur et Madame Kabal / Mr. and Mrs. Kabal’s Theatre

1968 Goto – wyspa miłości / Goto, l’île d’amour / Goto, Island of Love

1969 Fonograf / Le phonographe / The Phonograph (anim., short)

1971 Blanka / Blanche

1973 Wyjątkowa kolekcja / Une collection particulière / A Particular Collection (doc., short)

1974 Opowieści niemoralne / Contes immoraux / Immoral Tales

1975 Ślimak z Wenus / Escargot de Vénus / Venus on the Half-Shell (doc., short)

1975 Bestia / La bête / The Beast

1975 Dzieje grzechu / The Story of Sin

1976 Margines / La marge / The Margin

1977 Za murami klasztoru / Interno di un couvento / Behind Convent Walls

1977 List z Paryża / Brief von Paris / Letter from Paris (doc., short)

1977 Miłość, potwór wszechczasów / L'Amour monstre de tous les temps / The Greatest Love of All Times (doc., short)

1979 L’Armoire (segment in Collections privées / Private Collections)

1979 Heroiny zła / Les héroïnes du mal / Immoral Women

1980 Lulu

1981 Hayaahi (short)

1981 Hyper-Auto-Erotic (short)

1982 Dziwny przypadek doktora Jekylla i Miss Osbourne / Le cas étrange du dr Jekyll et Miss Osbourne / The Blood of Dr. Jekyll

1983 Ars amandi

1984 Piekielne scherzo / Scherzo infernal / Scherzo Infernal (anim., short)

1986 Le lotus d’or (episode of TV series Série rose, short)

1987 Emmanuelle V

1988 Ceremonie miłości / Cérémonie d’amour / Rites of Love

1990 Almanach des adresses des demoiselles de Paris (episode of TV series Série rose, short)

1990 Un traitement mérité (episode of TV series Série rose, short)

1991 L’experte Halima (episode of TV series Série rose, short)

Cast & Crew

director Walerian Borowczyk
screenplay Walerian Borowczyk; segment ‘La Maree’ based on a short story by André Pieyre de Mandiargues
cinematography Guy Durban, Bernard Daillencourt, Noël Véry, Michel Zolat
editing Walerian Borowczyk
music Maurice Leroux
cast Fabrice Luchini, Lisa Danvers, Charlotte Alexandra, Paloma Picasso, Florence Bellamy
producer Anatole Dauman
production Argos Films
sales Argos Films
source of print Bildstorung
language French
colouration colour