Pruimenbloesem (Plum Blossom) (1982)

The first full length Dutch porno movie would also remain one of the few. I’ve always felt it was kind of odd that a country so sexually liberated as Holland never developed much of an adult industry. Theatrically, only three films made any kind of impact. PRUIMENBLOESEM and ‘N SCHOT IN DE ROOS were both directed by the pseudonymous “Willem van Batenburg”, a porn theater proprietor from Utrecht who had cut his teeth on loops throughout the ’70s, and there was the partly US-funded HOT PURSUIT a/k/a YAB YUM OP STELTEN with Annette Haven. Even now most of the stuff produced locally, provided by the likes of Kim Holland and “Handyman” (sort of a low rent Buttman), is just a step up from amateur, or shall I be charitable and call it “cinéma vérité” ?!

Funded by dirty movie distribution company Filmtrust (who, through some nifty clause in their contract, robbed van Batenburg of any residuals that might’ve granted him a comfortable old age), PRUIMENBLOESEM made local headlines not to mention a healthy box office dent on the strength of being the first of its kind. While the Dutch soon lost interest in homegrown hardcore, they flocked “en masse” to see this one and subsequently it became a huge hit on video as well. As a footnote, I’d like to add that it still turned up as late as 2006 at the Brussels ABC cinema, Belgium’s last remaining adult film theater, sharing the bill with Michel Caputo’s delirious SYBIL, TOUS LES TROUS SONT PERMIS from 1980 ! Technical credits were provided by professionals from Holland’s mainstream movie industry, all working under closely guarded pseudonyms out of fear that their cooperation on a porn flick would endanger their future employment. This means that the movie looks and sounds fine. Production-wise, it probably surpasses most porn produced internationally at that time. Sparkling cinematography is a particular bonus. The cast consists mostly of enthusiastic amateurs, hence some easily forgivable rough spots in the acting department, though several of the guys had previously appeared in loops for the same director.

Myriam (Diana De Koning) is the nymphomaniac wife of a wealthy older man. Living a life of unlimited luxury in a gorgeous countryside villa (actually the property of a well-known and subsequently seized Dutch criminal), she entertains both men and women with complete disregard for any personal feelings that they might develop for her. Herein lies the problem I’ve always had with this film. While director and star frequently defended their movie as being more sensitive and “female-friendly” than the average porno, it cannot be denied that this central character though liberated is a particularly unsympathetic and even obnoxious woman. On the other hand, it’s somewhat refreshing that she’s not punished for being a “bitch”. A former lover attempts to kidnap her but she manages to reason with him, allowing her to return to her private pool for an underwater romp with both of the film’s well-endowed male leads, the film’s most erotic sex scene. Incidentally, the curly-haired blonde guy (credited as “Richard Wildens” but whose real first name was Sander) was Diana De Koning’s real life boyfriend at the time. Her casting in the lead role was a fluke as she just accompanied him to the set with no thoughts of starring in the film herself. A natural actress, she ended up as the movie’s most enduring asset. Self-assuredly stomping all over anyone foolish enough to offer her his (or, in one case, her) heart, she imbues Myriam with an ebullient vitality so you begrudgingly admire her to some extent even as you don’t really like her. As an ironic footnote, Diana had to split her wages with her boyfriend who received none for his “stud duties” here !

On the sexual front, there’s an often touching adherence to genre cliché, my favorite being the fact that the two women in the obligatory Sapphic bit keep on their high-heeled shoes in bed. No stockings and garters, mind you, just shoes ! It always makes me chuckle anyway. The director had obviously seen a lot of porn in his line of business and smoothly emulates the style. If you lacked any historical awareness, you’d never guess that this was a fledgling f*ck film effort from a country virtually synonymous with sex throughout the world. Too bad that it was somehow considered not to be lucrative to follow the porno path as the resources for possible future greatness were certainly there.