Stanford Mail

This Was an Experience That I Wasn’t Expecting

MOVIE REVIEW
Nudist Life (plus 10 Days in a Nudist Camp and Shangri-La)

    

Genre: Documentary
Year Released: Various, Kino Lorber Blu-ray 2023
Runtime: 3h 16m
Director(s): Maurice Zouary
Where To Watch: Coming to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber on February 28, 2023; pre-order here


RAVING REVIEW: NUDIST LIFE is a testament to the artistic boundaries of its era. As a film from the golden age of nudist filmmaking, it represents a snapshot of a time when the cinematic expression was still very much in its infancy. While the production values may seem primitive by today's standards, it's important to remember that this film was made when filmmaking technology was still in its earliest stages of development.


Despite its rough edges, NUDIST LIFE provides a unique window into a world often kept behind closed doors. The filmmakers were pioneers in their own right, documenting the titillating world of naturism and presenting it to the masses. The creative team behind the film knew what they were making; this wasn’t high-art nature documentary filmmaking. The film may not be a masterpiece, but it offers a glimpse into the early days of a genre that would be known for its sensationalism and exploitation.

NUDIST LIFE is a must-see for fans of vintage films and nudist culture. It offers a glimpse into a world shrouded in mystery and taboo. The film's humor attempts and use of classical music may seem a little off-putting, but they serve as a reminder of a time when filmmakers were still learning what they could and couldn’t do, as well as what would ultimately be successful.

For the uninitiated, NUDIST LIFE may seem like a relic of a bygone era, a cautionary tale of what happens when filmmakers substitute titillation for genuine exploration. However, it's essential to view the film in its proper context, as a product of its time, and to understand that the filmmakers were pushing the limits of what was considered acceptable in their day.

In conclusion, NUDIST LIFE is a fascinating document of a time and place that has long since passed. It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it's an integral part of film history and a testament to the ingenuity of the filmmakers who dared to explore uncharted territory. “Frankensteined films became a genre unto themselves, paving the way for the more gruesome Mondo films that would soon follow.”

As I mentioned above, this documentary is only by the loosest definitions. Still, it holds a place in cinematic history and many other genres that may be looked back at in a different light today. If you can watch and appreciate this for what it is, you’ll be far more likely to learn from the experience.

BONUS FEATURES:
Short films:
Back to Nature (1955)
The Expose of the Nudist Racket (1938)
Nature Girls (1952)
Nudes, Nudists, and Nudism Around the World, Nudist Memories (1961)

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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]