Schoolgirl Report - Vol.3: "What Parents Find Unthinkable" (International Edition) Review
The FilmBased on a book by Dr. Gunther Hunold, which purported to feature real life interviews between many young women about their sexual experiences, the Schoolgirl Report series ran for a total of thirteen episodes spanning the ten years between 1970 and 80. It was a German production, headed throughout its years by Austrian director Ernst Hofbauer, Walter Boos and producers Wolf C. Hartwig and Ludwig Spitaler. The aim was to present - in a similar fashion to the book - the real world views of young teens and their attitudes toward sexual lifestyles, which were juxtaposed against the opinions of their peers. Presented as pseudo-documentaries these films attempted to ride the wave of sexploitation under a clever guise; mixing politics and humour with attempted eroticism. And they did good business for it back in the day, subsequently earning themselves quite the little reputation before eventually ceasing production over concerns about their heavy content.
In Schoolgirl Report 3: “What Parents Find Unthinkable” the Christian Young Men’s Association in Hamburg has published a sex education guide with the intent of teaching youngsters how to enjoy their sex lives. But just how helpful is it really? That’s the question asked when it’s put to the parents watching this film. Is this guide written by adults actually in danger of being banned by the very people who once supported it? It’s time to learn from a selection of boys and girls ages between 15 and 18 as interviewer Friedrich von Thun and a crew of determined film-makers seek to uncover the truths that parents daren’t wish to think about.
It’s certainly interesting to note that there’s an awful lot of sexual politics underlining the feature; laws and regulations are brought into question as we’re handed the polarizing opinions of youths and adults, both of whom seem all to eager to pinpoint the blame on the other for any questionable acts that the viewer finds themself witnessing here. The picture appears to lay blame on a society suffering from a lack of communication, which in turn has seen it become a cynical and jaded one as far teaching a young generation goes. Are the adults merely liars or irresponsible parents, or are the children just far too aware of their own environment to allow any safety measures to take genuine effect? Ultimately there’s no shortage of naïve philosophising on display from any participant, and the film never makes any strong attempt to answer any of questions it poses. Instead it just wants to highlight a problem and show us that under our very noses our offspring could be up to very naughty things indeed. If anything these concerns still hold considerable importance today, but this is a picture that’s all too ham-fisted really, sustaining a laughably contradicting commentary as it races through a series of check points with which to tackle the next controversial subject on its list. The main highlights here involve a story of fifteen young teens who attempt to adhere to the new sex guide advice; a lecherous teacher who regularly likes to cop a feel of his student’s breasts in non-too-subtle fashion; the rape of a young girl who is then blackmailed by her saviour of a school janitor; a Lolita who spurs her young boyfriend in favour of his experienced and rich father, and a self-confessed know-it-all who believes she can turn any man into putty, but who ends up becoming the victim herself. These all end up intermittently fuelling a series of topical, albeit light debates regarding parental provision and so forth, which are opened up to unsuspecting passers by on the streets of Germany.
You have to appreciate the bravado of directors Ernst Hofbauer and Walter Boos though. It’s obvious that they know exactly what they’re doing here and the likelihood of anyone taking these films remotely serious as case studies is slim to none, regardless of our constant on-the-street reminders. It’s fine to delve into such a myriad of subject matter ranging from teen promiscuity to rape, but of course all these forays toward presenting factual evidence and raising valid points, despite their relevence today even, is ultimately betrayed by a keenness to show as much bare flesh as possible. As such individual accounts are turned upside down, exploited naturally and precisely by those hiding behind the lens. We’re under the given assurance that every young girl on screen is as pretty as could be found. It’s a staple part of a series designed to titillate if nothing else, although frankly speaking while there’s no shortage of eye candy these are incredibly tame offerings - frontal nudity not withstanding - that seem to get by on their own enthusiasm for the somewhat mocking material. In the end it’s clear that fun and exploitation is the name of the game, and let‘s not pretend otherwise; the humour is terribly cheesy, the directing confident though staid and Siegfried Franz’s music aptly funky in its attempts to stir the sleaze on offer.
The DVDDue to the content of this third volume having been a little too much for co-distributor Ryko to handle, Synapse has put out an international edit which removes some questionable shots involving mainly an under-aged lad. I should also point out the disc is encoded as region free.
Although Synapse are distributing for Impulse Pictures they’re not involved in the mastering process, therefore don’t expect any serious tinkering going on here. With that said Schoolgirl Report 3 doesn’t look too bad at all in its fairly raw state. It’s anamorphically preserved in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, and while it’s a tad soft and displays plenty of specks it’s presented appropriately. As a film of its time, presumably shot on 16mm it just has all the more charm seeing it slightly worn, and there’s nothing particularly untoward by way of manipulation- no edge enhancement or boosting of any kind. Compression is good and about the only thing going against it is a fair amount of aliasing.
The German mono track is perfectly fine overall. By no means is it crystal, but there’s enough clarity to get it by. I wouldn’t expect any more from it. There are no authoring defects to speak of. Optional English subtitles are provided and these offer a grammatically fine translation, with the only negative point being a mistimed split-second flash during the 53 minute mark.
OverallSchoolgirl Report 3: “What Parents Find Unthinkable” is a curious little number. It’s difficult to find it anything less than humorous, although it’s bound to offend some with its poorly argued viewpoints and less-than-sensitive portrayal of events. However, this is one for the exploitation crowd only, and it does it’s job admirably enough.
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