On the arid sands of Fire Island, California, two young lads, conscientious Peter and gormless Dan, approach a curvey brunette. The girl, Sandy, has looped a piece of string around the left leg of a maimed seagull and tied it to a stick in the sand. She pokes and jibes the gull with another stick, giggling as it sqwacks and rasps in distress. The boys are initially outraged by this ghastly scene but, after Sandy taunts them and flashes thick brown eyelashes at them, they succumb, then join in, laughing. Sandy seduces on the offensive
: her bikini takes the place of a cat'o'nine tails. From the point that they all bond, and as a precondition of their bond, Sandy is the arch-manipulator, the mistress
. Her domination is a dead challenge, as both boys are willing victims; it is also excessive, sour, tyrannical, squalid. An artful, if fetid, sado-masochistic construct forms and unfolds on salt-bitten, sooty West Coast sands, until Rhoda, a chubby ginger virgin with orthondontic braces, arrives and upsets the delicate S/M balance. As Peter slowly draws toward Rhoda, Sandy's cruelty turns sceptic and sucks Peter and Dan into an uglier, more vicious sadism. The film ends with Sandy inciting gang-rape: Rhoda is attacked by the boys in a forest clearing, while Sandy screams instructions. The ending is so eliptical, and unsettling, that a friend of mine, when I made him watch the film, was convinced that they'd killed her. It doesn't matter. The last shot shows sunset washing across dirty Fire Island dunes, as Sandy, Peter and Dan walk towards shore, but without apparent direction, seperately.Last Summer Frank Perry (1968)
by then I could rub against your skin still - bare shoulders,
neck, stomach, thighs - or take hair between teeth, lie still,
take some message from gesture, touch, repose, whichever came first or
seemed, still, like an attempt at contact, a response. That
was (once) the least of our demands: the low threshold, "mere"
but something hit us, with sudden violence: a violation, either vitalism
or nihilism, or revenge. (Not just any thing
, darling; that
would be too kind, too sly)... - You hated me then. I unloaded history;
you chafed, raged, virtually spat tears in my face, and then let this
hard sunshine (hollow, like shaft-light) go and slowly swallow days.
There was no going back from there.
We were exhausted, beaten, trapped.b.
- 1. a controversy of dead silence, at midnight or midday,
could undo words delivered in an attempt at a pact or peace or one
frigid kiss which, somehow, just could not dissolve accusations or
resentment however ferociously fought for; 2. we could no longer
coordinate thought and feeling to or with each other, and yet it had
been assumed, had been fused, this assurance, on hot spring evenings
laced with showers, mood shifts; 3..…no sleep, taut nerves,
delicious doses of energy, like living on limbs filled with lactic acid.c.
That spring, we lived on bowls of ricotta, jugs of table wine,
and wilting olives (with stones smashed). Cats padded
over dust and stone, bloody little teeth bare, whiskers dripping.
You reclined on limestone slabs, peeled back your bathing suit
to reveal tan lines, upturned your bag in search of a bracelet,
and everything fell out; books, lotions, headscarf, varnish,
and the sun, dipping, drenched you. We could not leave the sea before
dusk or eat before midnight. In our tiny, bare room, air tinged with ash
from a forest fire, above encroaching street clamour. It belonged to us,
but not one
of us. Not only one of usd.
[...] with constant momentum and direction, swam straight through
currents and riptides: continued. Events need not achieve magnitude
or shape or quality, or be quantified what so ever, so much so,
I could forget your face
it undid me every time: various inflections, a little hard defiance
and humor; or opening up
, for example, onto me, sharp eye
fast and expressive; you beaming, relaxed, delighted… - Undone again,
could have said yes
then, to any question. Just then
was ardor, seduction, fury: this kept recurring with slight
Each moment demands clarity. Covers off by morning, slight light slats
over skin, a lock of limbs. There was rest. Only then
I gave what I could. That was the deal. I wish I could still make out
or recall small points of contact, discreet or hungry,
reservation or reproach,
could disguise force spent hopelessly, erase cruelty: another
unnecessary exchange, words hurled with no caution or thought or
intention, except base strategy: offence and defence, simultaneously,
to no end… e.
And speech went into deadlocks and decelerations.
And the temperate climate of the time and its details:
orchids and grisly slabs and dead pigeons, slate sky above Barbican,
birdsong in traffic, pink fuchsia by fire station doors, hairstyles on
a bus: braids, updos, locs, etc.
and I was lucky also in that I could see her nails, swerving curves
and crimson glaze. And hot air streams singed rat nests and hard gum.