Ah! The School Girl Report series from Germany, sigh. There are 14 of these gems spanning the entirety of the 70’s, the golden decade of porn. This whole series is truly the epitome of a guilty pleasure. The films are mostly just prurient soft core sex movies about teenagers, kind of like Fast Times at Ridgemont High but with a little more nudity and sex. However unlike its American counter parts these German films feature a more pointed and strident political message about “today’s youth.” The narrator describes the growing wave of new sexual mores with both fear and admiration.
Even though the films are clearly peddling a chance to see boobies the ideological context is entertaining and gives the whole series a kind of self-righteous bravado. Enterprising young ladies seduce teachers, priests, uncles, classmates, and each other with abandon. Their motivations are almost exclusively whimsical and impulsive. The films depict women as openly desirous and sexual. I suppose that these school girl films were akin to what was happening in France with the Emmanuelle movies but because Emmanuelle movies were French the characters were aloof and obnoxious and the sex was cold and stagey. The German films feature assertive and, dare I say, empowered young women having fun. I always appreciated Věra Chytilová’s Czech film Daisies as radical simply because women weren’t supposed to have that much fun.
The titles of the School Girl Report films were uninspired. They were just School Report 1, School Report 2 and so on. However they each came with a subtitle that was enticing: “What parents Don’t Think Is Possible,” “What Parents Must Never Know,” “What all Parents Should Know,” “Every Girl Starts Sometime,” or “What Parents Find Unthinkable.” They sound like the teasers that the network news shows use to keep their audience through the commercial break.
Ernst Hofbauer, the director of the School Girl Report Series presented these films as educational documentaries based on true stories gleaned from Dr. Günther Hunold’s research in the 1960s. Dr. Hunold was apparently Germany’s version of Dr. Kinsy. In making these films Hofbauer presented himself not as a pornographer but as reporter examining the dangerous new trends among Germany’s youth, although he clearly seems to sympathize with them at least part of the time. Its all these puffy pretensions that make the films enjoyable.
In School Girl Report 1 one of the vignettes opens with a shot of school girls playing basketball in leotards. In Kuleshov fashion the scene is intercut with shots of a muscular, young gym teacher observing them, but his facial expression is inscrutable. While we watch, the narrator speaks, “Our daughters today are aware of emancipation and the equality of men and women. Probably one of the most crucial trends of our century. Men and women are to be equal in their abilities, performances and demands. But this idea of equality can also lead to excesses such as sexual aggressiveness on the part of women. This creates situations unimaginable in the past.”
The ratio of ideology to sex predictably shifted over the years. The first installment in the series mixed the short sex vignettes with what appear to be genuinely spontaneous interviews with people passing by on the street. Women are abruptly stopped and asked about masturbation and their sex life. There are also little one room dramas depicting family tension over sexual values and behavior. Most of these elements dropped away as the series went on and were replaced with more nookie. I actually think the later films are better. They took themselves less seriously and admitted more readily to what they were doing, while still retaining enough ideological message to be interesting.
If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy these —
A NSFW Review of The Acid Eaters
Godard famously said that all he needed to make a film was a girl and a gun. What he didn’t say was that he would make…