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Home / Podcasts / Daughters of Darkness / Episode 27: Sex Without Shame: The Telephone Book (1971) and Elle (2016)

Episode 27: Sex Without Shame: The Telephone Book (1971) and Elle (2016)


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Kat and Samm return from a lengthy hiatus with this personal, boisterous episode that explores desire, consent, and sexuality by comparing two very different films: Nelson Lyon’s forgotten erotic classic, The Telephone Book (1971), and Paul Verhoeven’s challenging rape-revenge drama, Elle (2016). Made early in the porno chic period, before mainstream titles like Deep Throat (1972), The Telephone Book follows a young woman who becomes the target of an obscene caller. Instead of feeling victimized, she’s excited by the encounter and goes on a ribald odyssey through New York City to find her loquacious love.

And though Elle’s approach is quite different, Kat and Samm discuss how it serves as an important counter example to the idea that such films can’t be made in recent years. Marking Verhoeven’s return to filmmaking in a decade, Elle stars the great Isabelle Huppert as Michele Leblanc, an unconventional business executive who is raped in her home by a masked attacker. Refusing to see herself as a victim, Michele becomes determined to learn her rapist’s identity and uncover his potential motivations. Hovering somewhere between domestic drama, rape revenge film, and black comedy, Elle explores complicated notions of power, consent, and intimacy.

If you have enjoyed this episode, or any of the other episodes, of Daughters of Darkness then please consider becoming a Patreon here.

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8 comments

  1. You’re back – yeah!

  2. YES! My favorite podcast is back.

  3. I both worship and abhor Camille Paglia. What a glorious opening discussion! This week I screened Salvatore Samperi’s Scandalo (Submission) so it feels a propos, too. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this complicated work.

  4. Love your show. You’re smart, funny, and hot. What more could anyone want?

  5. I adore you two. That’s all I have to say about that.

  6. “She fucked everyone, Tallulah Bankhead, god bless ‘er.” One of the most hilarious, sensitive, sensible and intelligent things I have ever heard. 🙂

  7. (I mean the podcast in general. not just that statement) 🙂

  8. Oh dear… I’m subscribed via ITunes, but this episode didn’t show up. I stopped in to check since a mention by Mike White’s “egofest” (Projection booth), but when I went looking, it said that Daughters of Darkness was not available in the US store. You may want to look into that

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