Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday Night Film: Permissive

Dir Lindsay Shonteff

Welcome to London

Darling, you won't impress anyone dressed like that

Suzy (Maggie Stride) is the new girl in town, dressed in duffle coat with duffle bag and with nowhere to stay. She hits on her old chum Fiona (Gay Singleton) who sponges a living as a groupie, currently hooked up with group Forever More, quite possibly the worst band of all time. It’s too difficult to differentiate between the four members, an interchangeable band of filthy hairball Neanderthals. They were however a real band, and purport to play themselves, this being less taxing on their pitiful acting skills. They certainly play their own music, a generic post-psychedelia rock dirge, and plenty of dull concert footage is cut into Permissive as filler between a few flashes of T&A.

The joint was smoking, man

Suzy meets Pogo
For a time she finds some sort of happiness living on the streets with a character named Pogo (Robert D’Aubigny), a sort of alt. hippie preacher man who meets an unfortunate end in a road accident. Interestingly, D’Aubigny not only talked the talk but walked the walk, moving on from portraying alternative types to offering alternative therapy, allegedly including a rebirthing session with Mike Oldfield. Fallopian Tubular Bells? The mind boggles.

With no one else to turn to Suzy meets Fiona again and is accepted into the groupie entourage, quickly adapting to the life of shabby glamour, nudity, crap sex, and presumably a bunch of unpleasant venereal diseases.

After trying on the road manager and guitarist for size, Suzy make a play for lead singer Lee and after more repellent sex in a hotel toilet replaces Fiona as alpha female.

Forever More
Misquoth the raven...

End of empire

The glamour of life on the road

1970s brown-vision

Frothy coffee, natch

As the band load their Ford Transit to head off to their next gig, Suzy makes a final trip to the bathroom where she discovers Fiona dying in the bath having slashed her own wrists. After a meaningless exchange of glances Suzy leaves her friend to die alone, closing the door behind her. One can only hope that the Forever More van meets a fatal collision on its next journey.

Lots of leaning on walls, staring into space

Lee breaks the news that it's over, man

Girl fight ensues

Lesbian groupie offers a little TLC to battered Suzy

Best shot in the film, courtesy of willing lesbian groupie

In addition to Forever More’s pitiful tunage, keen ears will pick out a brace of original songs by dark folk weirdos Comus, who had the good sense to stay away from the cameras.

At Mounds and Circles we like good cinema, and we’re quite partial to a bit of bad cinema too. Permissive goes beyond bad, crossing my personal boundary into the realms of tedium. It’s cheap sensationalist rubbish, its pretensions to realism depressing in tone and subject matter and boring to boot. It’s only redeeming qualities are liminal; a few shots of period London cafes and very brown hotel interiors. If that’s the best one can say about a film it’s a sorry affair.

She's behind you!

You'll feel the same way by the end of this film
Friday Night Film will return with more titillating viewing next week. And remember – we watch this shit so you don’t have to.


  1. The best thing about this film is that it's so utterly, unremittingly dismal, I can only imagine Shonteff made it as a kind of 'anti-sexploitation' statement, with the intention of sickening and boring his audience to the extent that they'd never dare to go and see one of these movies again in their lives.

    They should screen it to teenagers who think that having casual sex and playing in rock bands might be quite fun, just to crush their dreams forever.

  2. Well I liked it (he said defiantly)...