Bob Rafelson, a compulsive drifter, has just returned home to LA from a six-week tramp across Turkey when Regina Ziegler phoned to ask if he would be interested in making an Erotic Tale. Why not? was his quick response. He had just wasted two years on the disappointing Man Trouble and welcomed a return to his roots. Back in 1969, his BBS Productions (one of the “B’s” stood for Bob) had backed Dennis Hopper’s Easy Riders, a sensation at the Cannes festival. Bob also directed one of the hottest scenes ever seen on the Riviera: Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson scorching a kitchen table in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1986). “So how about if I shoot this one in a bathtub?” Six weeks later, Wet was finished - and a screening of Bob’s “shortie” was arranged for Regina Ziegler at an Avid editing studio on Las Palmas in Hollywood.
When a cassette was brought to the Cannes festival to preview the series for the Venice selection committee, Cannes scout Pierre Rissient raised an objection: “Can’t you keep it for us until next year?” Wet and The Dutch Master packed the Salle Lumière on a Sunday afternoon in May 1994 under the programming title Séance spécial - Contes de la séduction. So began a tour of the Erotic Tales at over a hundred film festivals.
Wet launched the career of singer-actress Cynda Williams, the voluptuous young lady in the tub, who later starred in Mika Kaurismäki’s Condition Red. And when the Erotic Tales were programmed later at the Cairo festival, Wet was the only film that couldn’t be shown because it didn’t pass the government censorship board (no reasons given).
A huge bath showroom. Brass fixtures along the walls, sink and showers, enameled toilets, jacuzzi tubs, steam showers, all polished and gleaming. Saleswomen and salesmen move uneasily amongst the customers. Hardly anyone can afford the prices. The sales people are energetic but it's hopeless. They haven't made a sale in weeks. The manager Bruce, about 35, oversees the bustle. He's charming, well built. supercilious - and desperate to boost business.
Davida. late 20's, enters just before closing time. Bruce senses she is a buyer. Well dressed and confident. Not the average family woman on a tight budget. He moves in. Davida needs a tub and she needs it fast. But she wants to fill one of the baths with water and step in. Not possible. There are rules - hygiene regulations. You can demonstrate the jets in a working tub. You can try out a dry tub. But you can't get in a full bath tub! Health department forbids; insurance forbids. They talk. Davida isn't sure. This is a substantial
investment. She needs a tub for two. If she can't try it out she will shop elsewhere. Bruce relents. It's after hours. For this beauty he will make an exception. But is the tub big enough for two? He demonstrates. After hours. After dark. A deal is made.
A huge showroom for bathroom designs. Brass fixtures along the walls, sinks and showers in all shapes and sizes. The fixtures are all polished and shiny. Sales personnel moves eagerly amongst the customers but making a sale has become a difficult undertaking since the items on display are simply hopelessly overpriced. Nobody has made a sale in weeks. Bruce, 35, the manager, oversees the bustle. He is charming, well built - and desperate to boost business.
Davida enters just before closing time. Bruce senses she is a buyer. Well dressed and confident. Not the average housewife on a tight budget. He moves in. Davida needs a tub and she needs it fast but before she makes a purchase she wants to test the ware. She wants to take a bath! Not possible. There are health regulations and insurance concerns, Bruce explains. After Davida launched a charm offensive Bruce gives in. It's after hours. For a beauty like Davida he will make an exception - but will the tub be big enough for two? He demonstrates. After hours. After dark. A deal is struck.
Arliss Howard, Cynda Williams,Kathleen Wilhoite, John Toles-Bey
Theo van de Sande
Ronald Gräbe, WDR
ARD, WDR, ARTE
35mm; colour; 1:1,85