Jerzy SkolimowskiWest Germany / UK88 minutes1971ColourEnglish
"Funny, touching, sexy, surreal, and tragic — all at the same time and all with the sting of a punch in the nose" (David Thomson). Set in a seedy public bathhouse in London (partly created in a Munich studio), Polish maverick Jerzy Skolimowski's first English-language production focuses on 15-year-old Mike (John Moulder-Brown), a new attendant whose physical maturity outstrips his emotional. He falls hard for Susan (Jane Asher), an experienced older attendant who both helps him navigate their clients' unsavoury advances and enjoys teasing him with her brash sexuality. As Mike becomes increasingly obsessed with Susan he begins to interfere in her life, leading to a fateful finale in the bathhouse's empty pool. Long unavailable due to rights issues, Skolimowski's masterpiece finally returned to screens in 2011, where it was hailed as "[a] vivid, rapturous film … What could have been just another coming-of-age story is transformed by an absurdist sensibility, uninhibited performances, and a heightened use of colour" (Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian).
Print courtesy of BFI Distribution.