In the 1990s there was a small batch of films whose narrative revolved around the life span of a single object. Films such as TWENTY BUCKS, whose plot trails after a twenty dollar bill as it passes from hand to hand, and THE RED VIOLIN, which follows the journey of an amber hued violin, told their stories by focusing in on the lives of those who made contact with a chosen focal point. LOVE CIRCLES is very similar in structure to such films, as it appears to follow a single, highly volatile strain of Chlamydia as it travels from partner to partner, crisscrossing the globe in a fashion that would authorize the World Health Organization to raise its pandemic alert to phase 5.
A casual hook up at a stereotypical 1980s Paris nightclub results in a Don Johnson wannabe being abandoned naked at a furniture store, having been robbed by his one night stand and left with only a crumpled cigarette pack to account for the previous night's festivities. The pack of smokes then travels to Cannes, Hong Kong, L.A. and New York City as it is passed from one sexual partner to another. Little more than a cheap excuse to piece together a variety of softcore sex sessions in multiple exotic locations, the film's set-up is actually quite ingenious. Unfortunately, an uproariously awful English dub track turns what could have been a slightly above standard, late night guilty pleasure into a laughable excuse to stay up once the kids have gone to sleep.
Supposedly a nod to the play “La Ronde”, LOVE CIRCLES' atmosphere can best be summed up like this: take every Duran Duran video from the 1980s (Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf), add boobs and Presto! I do have to give Gérard Kikoine credit, as the majority of the film's sex scenes (and let’s be honest, the picture would only be 15 minutes long with out them) are actually quite steamy. They may not all leave you hot and bothered but there is enough shown to hold one's attention and the majority of the film's female cast gives plenty food for thought for those with active imaginations. Slim brunette Sophie Berger (EMMANUELLE IV) stars in the picture's most memorable carnal encounter that takes place in a steam room filled with an ever increasing number of voyeuristic patrons. Sharing a single towel, Sophie and her suitor find a deep and lasting “connection” while their fellow sauna guests, both male and female, circle like vultures, themselves becoming enraptured by the public physical act. The moment is however quickly shattered the second anyone opens their mouth, as dialogue appears to be low on the list of priorities for the production.
Fresh off the set of BLACK VENUS and CHRISTINA, former Miss Bahamas Josephine Jacqueline Jones finds yet another role in which clothing is optional, thanks again to producer Harry Alan Towers. Cast as a professional nymphomaniac, Josephine is run ragged in a Benny Hill inspired sexual escapade that gives new meaning to the term “cougar”. While both Josephine and Sophie Berger are quite fit and easy on the eyes, those who prefer a little bit more meat on the bones will find much to savor in the robust frames of Marie-France and Lisa Allison. In fact, if not for Marie-France our lone pack of cigarettes may have never been given the chance to cross a single time zone. After catching the eye of the aforementioned Don Johnson clone, a traveling DJ, Marie-France and her new friend leave the club early, resulting in a sultry striptease that quite frankly is over far too soon. Likewise the voluptuous Lisa Allison, a buxom gal whose dark hair is as bountiful as her bosom, could have used much more screen time and much less dialogue, but that could be said for the entire cast.
Described on its box as a “chain of liaisons with very attractive women…”, LOVE CIRCLES found its way onto VHS in the late 1980s before eventually becoming a stalwart of late night cable skintertainment. Catering to an audience raised on such nostalgic nocturnal viewing, Private Screening Collection first released CIRCLES in late 2006 and more recently bundled the film with LADY LIBERTINE, also directed by Kikoine, as Volume 2 in their Skin Classics series. Presented full frame in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, picture quality is fair but nothing to write home about. As is to be expected there is a soft touch to the film's proceedings with a constant haze over most scenes, basking the cast and settings in a light 1980s fog. The mono English dub audio track is only slightly less flat than Sophie Berger but you can hear what’s being said, which may not necessarily be a good thing. With no extras save for a Chapter Selection menu, it’s hard to recommend LOVE CIRCLES to anyone but those who grew up on 1980s late night cable programming. (Jason McElreath)
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