In the late 1960s and early 1970s, British-born New Yorker and unsung hero of gay underground filmmaking Peter de Rome produced a number of explicit, painstakingly crafted Super 8 films each of which took the viewer on an immersive sexual journey. In 1973, eight of these films were brought together as The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome, producing one of the finest cinematic examples of the intersection of artistry and eroticism, in the tradition of Andy Warhol and Kenneth Anger. Now released on DVD for the first time, these extraordinary films are accompanied by a new BFI documentary, additional short films and a comprehensive booklet with new essays and film credits.
Peter de Rome started shooting 8mm films in 1965 for his own amusement, putting on screenings primarily for friends. When pioneering producer Jack Deveau saw one of them, he persuaded de Rome to collect eight together, blow them up to 16mm, and release them commercially as The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome.
The films in the collection – Double Exposure (1969), Hot Pants (1971), The Second Coming (1970), Daydreams from a Crosstown Bus (1972), Mumbo Jumbo (1972), Green Thoughts (1970/71), Underground (1972), and Prometheus (1972) – take the viewer on a kaleidoscopic sexual expedition designed to do more than titillate. By turns humorous and sardonic, romantic and sadistic, the films push the boundaries as de Rome creates surreal and imaginative scenarios in a range of exotic and everyday locations.
The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome will be released on UK DVD 26 March 2012 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.
The extra features will include:
- Fully uncut and uncensored presentations of all films;
- Fragments: the Incomplete Films of Peter de Rome (Ethan Reid, 2011, 43 mins): revealing new documentary in which de Rome discusses his career and unfinished films;
- Scopo (Peter de Rome, 1966, 6 mins): when a young man arrives at an empty apartment, he is unaware that a stranger is watching him;
- The Fire Island Kids (Peter de Rome, 1970, 14 mins): two men spend a lazy day in each other's company after one rescues the other from drowning;
- Moulage (Peter de Rome, 1971, 13 mins): short film about erotic body casting;
- Brown Study (Peter de Rome, 1979, 9 mins): an ethnographic study with a difference;
- Abracadaver! (Nathan Schiff, 2008, 10 mins): a gruesome tale of magic and mutilation from producer David McGillivray, starring Peter de Rome;
- New scores for The Fire Island Kids and Brown Study by Stephen Thrower (Cyclobe), and Scopo by Steve Moore (Zombi);
- 44-page illustrated booklet with new essays, film credits and diary extracts.