Unquiet Dreams

The Bestiary of Walerian Borowczyk
By Simon Strong

March 2015
Paperback | 325 x 191 mm | 134 pages | full colour throughout

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“Magnificent in its absurdity… Comically sublime!”

Walerian Borowczyk was far and away the classiest of sleazy film-makers, and the sleaziest of the classy ones. Starting as an animator and director of visually rich kafkaesque fantasies (Blanche, Goto, Island of Love) he divided audiences by moving into graphic erotica (Immoral Tales, The Beast) and subsequently worked his way through exploitation tropes (nunsploitation, Jeksploitation, togasploitation) before creatively imploding spectacularly with his bizarre contribution to the Emmanuelle series.

This volume is the first fully comprehensive review of Borowczyk’s career. With new contributions by leading Borowczyk experts, it includes a fully annotated and referenced filmography, profusely illustrated with rare stills. Much of the research is drawn from hitherto private and hidden sources, revealed here for the first time. This is surely the first and last word on this ground-breaking film-maker, shunned and neglected in his time and only now being recognised as an idiosyncratic genius.

In all honesty, it would have been nice if I could have used that last paragraph, but for some inexplicable reason there has been no serious study of Borowczyk as yet — and this certainly isn’t that.

Inspired in look and feel by seventies film and filth mags like Continental Film Review and Sex Stars System, the present author does not much value coherence or consistency. He is interested in contexts and connections, obscure minutiae, jokes (he will judge what is funny), and blurry screen grabs of topless women from seventies softcore flicks. Whilst not ideal, it’s better than nothing. Probably. You figure it out.


  • Tearful middle-aged recollections of a mis-spent youth
  • Inadequate biographical details (i.e. of Borowczyk)
  • Complete annotated filmography, sadly drawn from obsolete and contradictory sources.
  • Full technical data on all Borowczyk’s features with inconsistent notes and comprehensive bibliographies of articles, albeit mostly in foreign languages.
  • Background material on genres and personalities more or less (or not) relevant to Borowczyk’s films.
  • A rigorous (for the reader) formal analysis and over-extended discussion about Borowczyk’s most famous film, The Beast.
  • Interesting stuff about Alain Fleischer’s lost Rendez-vous en Foret. Pictures!
  • Annotated filmography of simulated zoophilia lowlights in (not very) mainstream cinema. Bleeurgh.
  • Puzzling but portentous conclusion.


  • Tedious shit about the Beast of Gévaudan
  • Full text of stories by Marie le Prince de Beaumont and Prosper Mérimée that inspired Borowczyk’s film.

Please note: Contrary to standard LedaTape procedure, some minor typographical errors have deliberately been allowed to remain in the production version. These are intended to convey verisimilitude and should not interfere with your enjoyment of the book.

“It’s like dying and going to smut heaven!”


  1. …Unquiet Dreams features an abundance of colour and black & white photos and poster art within its 136 pages. A worthy and recommended addition to your euro-trash cinema bookshelf…
    Read the full article at John’s epic Sin Street Sleaze blog.

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