The Erotic Tales began its festival run with a presentation of Susan Seidelman’s The Dutch Master at Telluride, America’s foremost cult and cineaste festival, in September 1993. Screened on opening night with permission of Gilles Jacob (the Cannes festival had already selected The Dutch Master and Bob Rafelson’s Wet for presentation in May 1994), film and director were introduced by guest festival director John Boorman. Seidelman was asked by Boorman about the inspiration for her Erotic Tale: a 17th-century painting hanging in the Louvre, Pieter de Hooch’s “The Drinker.” A year later, Boorman made an erotic short-feature of his own: Two Nudes Bathing (1995), programmed in the Certain Regard at the 1995 Cannes festival. Coincidentally (or was it?), Two Nudes Bathing was inspired by another painting that hangs in the Louvre - by an anonymous artist of the 16th-century Fontainebleau School.
Seidelman next presented The Dutch Master in October at a closed screening during the prestigious Hamptons festival on Long Island. Enough members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw the film to recommend it for an Oscar Nomination - and it received the Nomination in the Short Fiction Film category. Regina Ziegler’s Erotic Tales were thus the talk of the film world a month before the Cannes premiere even took place!
Mira Sorvino, the dentist assistant enchanted by a painting hanging in a museum, doesn’t speak a word in The Dutch Master. She was later chosen by Woody Allen to play the chatty young porno actress who steals the show in Mighty Aphrodite, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Gilles Jacob, director of the Cannes festival, remembered how the festival had given a supporting hand to producer Regina Ziegler in discovering this fresh young talent - so he invited Mira Sorvino to serve on the International Jury at the 50th jubilee celebration.
Teresa, a young dental hygenist from Brooklyn in her twenties, is about to marry Joey, a traffic cop. A few weeks before her wedding, while eating lunch on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her two girlfriends, Teresa decides on impulse to go inside - and is fascinated by a young man in The Trinker, a Dutch painting by Pieter De Hooch. Suddenly the painting comes to life! A tipsy young woman in the picture has fallen off her chair, gets picked up by the handsome young man, and is carried giggling out of the room. On her next visit to the Met, she is pleasantly surprised when the young man in the painting winks and invites her to step into the picture. She does so - and finds herself in a strange world. To the embarrassment of her family and friends, Teresa doesn’t turn up at the church on her wedding day …