Psychopathia Sexualis

Bret Wood, an enterprising film scholar and DVD producer, wrote and directed this illustrated video version of Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s 1886 medical catalog of sexual perversions, and it manages to revel in kinkiness while bypassing eroticism completely. Wood was interested in showing Krafft-Ebing’s scientific objectivity as well as his Victorian moralism, even when they’re in conflict (which is often). The director’s familiarity with silent cinema enhances the prudish pornographic footage, but when he starts cutting between separate perversions, I began to wonder if he was getting as bored with the material as I was. 102 min. (JR)

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