Schoolgirl Report - Vol.4: "What Drives Parents to Despair" Review
The FilmProud of their significant tally of 30 million viewers across 28 countries, the brains behind the Schoolgirl Report series enthusiastically usher in the fourth instalment in a bid to reveal even more shocking truths behind what school kids get up to when left to their own devices. A confident young girl uses her good looks and womanly ways to score good grades from a maths teacher; a young man poses as a doctor to get into his girlfriend’s undies; a black girl finds herself at the mercy of jealous schoolmates; a prostitution ring is formed by school kids so that they can raise enough cash to pay for a car that their friend wrecked (which was his dad’s); four girls tease a dorky Italian; incest rears its head for a bizarre tale featuring the beautiful Christina Lindberg, and finally the romantic ideals of one girl and the sexual desires of another cause a rift in a curious triangle relationship.
One wonders if there’s actually much of anything to say regarding these films, but I’m certainly not at a loss for words just yet. As with the third entry in the series Schoolgirl Report 4 travels along a familiar path as it gradually becomes all the more shameless and self congratulatory over time. Make no mistake, director Ernst Hofbauer and his crew continue holding on to the faux belief that everything they’re showing us is for our own good, pushing the boundaries of taste and decency so that we may eventually reel in disgust whilst on the brink of too much bum and titties. And if we’re to stay there for a moment the series is clearly becoming all the more daring; its sexual content overshadowing anything that came in the third outing with its racier directing and willing young girls who are evidently undeterred by its exploitative methods. I suppose the main problem with Schoolgirl Report 4 extends from those before it, in that while it remains oddly entertaining it does begin to sound awfully pretentious and often insulting. It becomes increasingly tedious to hear our narrator whisper to us that we need to be shown this stuff, justifying its means every single time we see some form of sexual contact, not to mention make incredibly bold and unfounded statements regarding prostitution and rape amongst other things: a FACT that all sixteen year-old boys and girls fall into prostitution as it rambles on incoherently about setting boundaries, and the NEED to show the rape of a black girl because it “symbolizes the conflict between races and peoples that even the smartest politicians have not been able to solve” - whatever that means. Just say “Ve want to show lots of ze boobies” and be done with it. It might even be more respectable.
But I have to say that despite such criticisms and compared to the previous title I reviewed here, this is a more rewarding outing on account of its unabashed humour. We have about six tales in all, each one varied to a degree, but if any stand out then it’s first and foremost the story of 16 year-old Angelika, who tells her boyfriend the story of a man who poses as a doctor and has so far had his way with 42 unsuspecting and stupidly naïve girls. “Doctor, is that your thermometer? I didn’t know they had such big and thick ones.” Said boyfriend decides to try the same routine so that he can have sex with Angelika at her parent’s house - cue the dad slipping a disc during much excitement over a football match on TV and we end up with something straight out of Carry On. And then we have the schoolgirl pranks episode in which four feisty lasses do their best to tease a self-conscious Italian chap, which ends up taking a complete U-turn. But even this time Schoolgirl Report 4 goes completely off the chart with its penultimate episode, which sees 16 year-old Barbara (a 22 year-old Christina Lindberg) lust after her brother. It’s not so much the look at incest, but the way in which its handled that makes this a truly bizarre offering. Barbara is so mixed up that her reality merges with a pathological dreamscape that she’s somehow managed to create for herself: a psychedelic series of visions involving firing squads and naked nuns. Right there I have to raise my proverbial hat to Hofbauer as I wonder just what the hell he was smoking that week.
The DVDBecause this transfer looks identical to the previous one, right down to whatever niggles I had before, I’m going to use the same write up.
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.
OverallIt’s hardly going to win over too many fans, but for what it is Schoolgirl Report 4 is a fairly entertaining slice of trash. It could do without waxing lyrical so much and simply stick to the real facts: that it’s nothing more than an excuse to parade around lovely young girls for the appreciation of horny men. This particular episode, however, may just sway the Christina Lindberg admirers out there to part a few dollars, and that’s surely as good enough a reason as any.
5 out of 10
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