Las Flores Del Vicio

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Las Flores Del Vicio (1979) follows a group of bourgeois ex-patriots residing in a remote coastal village in Spain who take young lovers from a traveling band of wanderers. Las Flores Del Vicio is a dreamy and almost surreal film that functions as an allegory and indictment of bourgeois culture. The film is the brainchild of its scene stealing star Win Welles. Welles, a playwright, attempts something akin to the films of Luis Buñuel but rooted in the idiom of psychological horror.

For Las Flores Del Vicio, Welles reunited with Canadian director Silvio Narizzano with whom Welles had successfully collaborated with on Redneck (1973). Prior to his work with Welles, Narizzano had enjoyed a successful run in the British film industry during the sixties with films such as Fanatic (1965), Gregory Girl (1966), as well as dozens of television episodes. While Welles possessed a more avant-garde sensibility, Narizzano was a modernist in his style. Narizzano’s influences consisted of filmmakers like Richard Lester and François Truffaut which helped imbue Narizzano’s films with a kind of energetic kineticism.

Overall, Las Flores Del Vicio is a kind of aesthetic extension of the Mardi Gras sequence in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider (1969). Welles and Narizzano record the local customs of a Spanish village wherein pagan rites are combined with Catholic rituals to create the backbone of a series of montages that visually externalizes the interiority of the ex-patriot characters. These bourgeois characters are amalgams of established types whose cultural capital is exploited as a means of exploring the moral decadence of the bourgeoisie. Dennis Hopper’s character is essentially a carbon copy of his role in The Last Movie (1971) while Caroll Baker is a variation on Norma Desmond and Win Welles is a kind of extension of the unseen Sebastian in Suddenly Last Summer (1959).

The look, feel, and social observations of Las Flores Del Vicio is oddly more the product of the sixties than of post-Franco Spain. Las Flores Del Vicio has less to say about Franco than it does about American imperialism, bourgeois excess or the mediocrity that comes from spiritual stagnation. Las Flores Del Vicio is a kind of call for atonement for that generation that hit middle age in the mid-seventies and failed to bring the cultural revolutions of the preceding decade any lasting political success. So much of what is either good or simply interesting about Las Flores Del Vicio is ultimately hampered by the languid pace of the film.