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The Black Glove

blackgloveThe Black Glove (1996)
B&W, 45 minutes, music only, no subtitles
Directed by: Maria Beatty
Cinematography: Ethan Mass
Cast: Maria Beatty & Mistress Morgana
Music by: John Zorn

The Black Glove” from Bleu Productions by Maria Beatty is an atmospheric work utilizing an expressive dance of imagery and sound.  Rather than employing a contemporary narrative style, this film works like an intimate snapshot into a forbidden sexual encounter between two women-the hauntingly seductive Mistress Morgana and her masochist pain slut, played by a sultry Maria Beatty-providing a glimpse into their secret desires.

The film opens upon a long, dark hallway, a window illuminated at the furthest end.  A footstep echoes upon tile and suddenly a silhouette appears from outside the window, an ambiguous figure dressed in a tuxedo and stiletto heels.  Perhaps a woman in drag or a man with a fetish for heels, the viewer is as yet unsure.  This powerful image evokes a sense of mystery, foreshadowing the dark tension that continues throughout the film.  As the figure enters the window and walks deliberately down a small flight of stairs, the ominous footsteps continue to permeate the soundtrack.  Unexpectedly, the scene cuts to a hand stroking a body, using a sound-bridge from the previous scene, and then fading into a hushed, yet menacing wind. This metonymy (a close-up glimpse of a scene) intrigues the viewer and allows them to create imagery in their own mind of what may come, heightening the sense of suspense.  Just as abruptly, the scene cuts back to a close-up of the stilettos walking down the long hall, except this time only the wind can be heard.  This image of stilettos entering and walking is then repeated, creating one of the recurring motifs that will return again and again.

This film contains no dialogue, employing non-diegetic (non-narrative) sound and music.  Throughout the film, sound is used expressively like a cubist image: fragmented, discontinuous, and often exaggerated, calling attention to small gestures and details, creating difference and variation, and expressing emotion.  The haptic image and evocative sound play off each other, one privileged over the other at certain times, to suggest more than just the sense of vision in a triumphant illustration of “pure cinema”.

blackglove_75The ambiguous intruder enters a door, and like voyeurs who have come in through an open window, the viewing audience follows.  Once inside the inner sanctuary, the camera begins to leisurely journey up the intruder’s body, beginning with the black, patent leather stilettos, up the crease in the pants to the tuxedo jacket, to a crisp white shirt and strange, looming face.  Indeed, it is a man with slicked back hair, his skin impossibly paled by garish white make-up, reminiscent of German Expressionism in films like Caligari.  Unexpectedly, the image lapse-dissolves, overlapping into graphic match, the same man transformed into an image of grotesque femininity, crowned in a long dark wig.  The camera then begins a reverse descent, past naked shoulders to a corseted bustier, a cinched waist, panties, garters, black nylon stockings and again, those terrible stiletto heels.

Shadows plays upon the wall, a door opens to an eerie chanting soundtrack, a beautiful female Dominatrix emerges in a tuxedo, her long dark hair tied back as she smokes.  Gradually, seductively, she unwraps a form, draped in black velvet to reveal a scantly-clad woman bound hand and foot.  A wrist-length, black, latex glove strokes the prone woman’s pale flesh and the dark haired Dominatrix is transformed into the male transvestite, then back into the raven haired woman once again.  Here, as in the previous scene, Beatty juxtaposes gender identity using graphic discontinuity to both intrigue the viewer and to make them question traditional gender roles.

blackglove_109Now, the female Dominatrix wears a lustrous patent leather corset, flashes of silver metal buckles fastening to the sound of grating metal.  The elegant woman proceeds to lovingly torture her sweet victim.  Darkness caresses the bound woman, shadowy puppets tweaking her nipples, stroking her body.  Candlelight glints off of a shining metal wheel, its circumference edged with jagged little teeth.  It draws dotted lines over the submissive woman’s throat, upper arms, biting into her nipples.  The torture escalates as her nipples are clamped and her wet panties are stuffed into her mouth, her large luminous eyes pleading.  The writhing woman submits to fear and lust as hot wax from a phallic candle is drizzled over her quivering pussy.  As the film ends, a gas mask is placed over the slave’s face and she falls into an ecstatic bliss, force-fed air by her Mistress.

This film is a clever use of the medium that works on many levels.  The use of haptic illusive imagery seduces the viewer’s imagination and creates a sense of mystery.  What is not shown is, perhaps, just as titillating as what is revealed.  The wonderful sound-scape composed by John Zorn compliments the image by creating sound imagery the same way the haptic shadows work, allowing the viewing audience to transform sound into visual impressions in their mind’s eye.

How can a porn film show so little, yet be so effective?  By teasing us, seducing us, like a burlesque artist performing her act, revealing only a little at a time.  This film works on all the senses, titillating the imagination as well as the libido.

Definition: hap·tic adj- Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile.

[Greek haptikos, from haptesthai, to grasp, touch.]

Free Dictionary.Com

Read My Review of The Elegant Spanking also by Bleu Productions.

The Black Glove and The Elegant Spanking can be purchased together from Amazon.Com.

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23 Responses

  1. Adriana says:

    The screenshots posted make this seem like a really interesting flick – very visual in a more grown up way. My interest in certainly piqued.

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