Taboo (Kirdy Stevens / U.S., 1980):

The Oedipal joke prepared by Le Souffle au Coeur and La Luna is consummated at last by a British goddess in suburban America, a downright Cocteauesque transmutation. It starts with bad sex in the dark, the irritable wife wants the lights off and the philandering husband keeps flipping them back on, the final stage in their imploding marriage. Kay Parker -- affectingly brittle and luxuriantly unshaven, with a beautiful pendulous volume to her body -- is Jocasta here, a hausfrau suddenly "independent" at the tail end of the carnal Seventies. "No sense in going without sex. Your pussy will shrink," warms her confidante (Juliet Anderson), a dedicated sensualist usually found sandwiched between her live-in stud and an Asian cutie. While she feigns indifference to the orgy around her, Parkerís teenage son (Mike Ranger) negotiates a pair of unzipped coeds with a deadpan, low-pitched "bitchiní!" When it comes, their intra-familial dalliance is less seduction than collision: Kirdy Stevens sets it up with a sustained voyeuristic composition (Parker soapy in the shower and perfumed before her vanity table as the camera seizes Rangerís gaze) and then choreographs it as a cumulative hodgepodge of hesitation and abandon. "The world has a dirty word for this," Mom sighs afterwards to her boy, who canít wait to do it again. A trend-setter and a candid comedy of forbidden desire, its lackluster domestic surfaces forever being roused by such visions as Dorothy Lemay in purring close-up, Andersonís omnivorous grin as a sort of hardcore Joan Blondell, and, above all, Parkerís lingering glance of conflicting emotion and inflamed flesh. With Michael Morrison, Lee LeMay, Miko Yani, Don Fernando, Turk Lyon, and Tawny Pearl.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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