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Schoolgirl Report #8
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SCHOOLGIRL REPORT: VOLUME #8

Director: Ernst Hofbauer

Review by Aaron McMullan

Image sleeve schoolgirl report vol 8

Schoolgirl Report #8:
What Parents Must Never Know [DVD]

Dir: Ernst Hofbauer

Starring: Wolf Ackva, Puppa Armbruster, Sandra Atia, Astrid Boner

Impulse Pictures DVD

All regions

Anamorphic Widescreen
(1.66:1) Transfer

German Language / Newly Translated Removable English Subtitles

In 1969 German psychologist Dr. Günther Hunold, no stranger to an afternoon spent flinging footnotes at this or the other fruity fistful of mucky old chat, conducted a series of interviews in Munich with a group of girls aged between fourteen and twenty in pursuit of definitive answers to the kinds of questions concerning girls aged between fourteen and twenty that had been keeping him and half of the people on his street awake for months. Questions about how often girls aged between fourteen and twenty might find themselves up to the eyeballs in one another’s arseholes, for example. About when might have been the last time that a girl aged between fourteen and twenty was caught with a tidy knot of her stepbrother’s pubes in her pocket. About the kinds of rare performances that girls aged between fourteen and twenty might stage of a weekday morning for the benefit of the bus driver, the priest, the window cleaner, the fella with the cleft lip that stops by sometimes on his way to the creamery, the retired fruiterer from the cottages on the far side of the boating lake, and so on and so forth.

Of the thirty-six students interviewed, twelve responded with enough candour to eventually make their way into the best-selling, and hugely-controversial, Schoolgirl Report: What Parents Don’t Think Is Possible, the first of several sticky-fingered “reports” that Hunold would file throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Eager to wring a new house or nine from the brouhaha surrounding the book’s publication, Wolf C. Hartwig, producer of such seldom-discussed (and often misleadingly titled, to the chagrin of many a Eurogrot enthusiast) West German exploitation pictures as She Lost Her… You Know What (aka Tower of Screaming Virgins, 1968), Love Now, Pay Later (1959) and Virgin on the Verge (1970), swiftly set about acquiring the rights to Hunold’s book, employing director Ernst Hofbauer to bring to Schoolgirl Report something of the impishness and the leeriness and the general air of lead-titted, shrub-nutted rascality he had hitherto brought to bear upon the likes of Die jungen Tiger von Hongkong (1969) and Sex in the Grass (1966). The resultant feature, 1970’s Schoolgirl Report, in which Hunold’s findings are hoisted aloft on the cud-caked shoulders of some disarmingly progressive rhetoric, a bunch of raunchy vignettes, and a few decidedly dubious interview segments, was an instant box office smash, rutting, rimming and riding its way to a tidy DM 6,000,000 domestic gross.

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Ushering parades of naked, nubile delinquents onscreen under the auspices of legitimate semi-anthropological enquiry, Schoolgirl Report clearly owed much to the mondo cinema of the previous decade (particularly films such as Sweden: Heaven and Hell [1968] and Teenage Rebellion [1967], and certain sections of the quite remarkable Ecco [1964]), not to mention the notorious “sex hygiene” features produced in the United States throughout the 1930s and forties. Within the context of German cinema specifically, its roots could be traced back further still, well beyond the beginnings of the contemporaneous West German softcore sexploitation boom and on through the silent era, when salacious exposés such as The Life of a Prostitute (a direct precursor of Hofbauer’s Prostitution heute, itself released just a few months prior to Schoolgirl Report) were busy giving British critics licence for the fiercest bit of grousing and gurning on, as is amply illustrated by this shard of blather culled from a 1919 issue of Kine Weekly:

A large number of pictures now extensively exploited in Germany and neutral countries deal with subjects which, even though in some cases they are treated in a pseudo-scientific manner, are decidedly nasty in their appeal… One of the pictures which has recently had a great vogue bears the title The Life of a Prostitute, and the majority of the recent German films have a tendency in the direction of similar subjects, even to the extent of treating - and by no means seriously - matters which among more decent races are left to the laboratory, the hospital, the eugenist, and the unmoral highbrow.

(Many thanks to Dr. Lawrence Napper, author of British Cinema and Middlebrow Culture in the Interwar Years, for bringing that particular piece to my attention via a posting on this social network or the other.)

Schoolgirl Report, too, attracted no small measure of opprobrium, not least in the pages of Film-Dienst, the official magazine of West Germany’s Catholic Film Commission, in which it was denounced as “malicious propaganda.” Nevertheless, the film’s phenomenal domestic and international success engendered a plethora of cash-ins (the likes of Eberhard Schröder’s Housewife Report [1971] and Walter Boos’s Nurses Report [1972], for example, or Hofbauer’s own What Schoolgirls Don’t Tell [1973]), spin-offs and sequels, each release deviating ever further from the template established by the original until such times as the pedagogic pretence had been all but vanquished and the veneer of documentary authenticity tossed aside in favour of a tone much more redolent of, say, The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959) or, increasingly, the British Confessions of… series.

Of the original run of official sequels, most were directed by Ernst Hofbauer (Reports #9 [1975], 10 [1976], 12 [1978] and 13 [1980] are credited to the abovementioned Walter Boos), and of those, Schoolgirl Report #8: What Parents Must Never Know (1974), now available uncut on a Region 0 DVD from Impulse Pictures, can be considered broadly representative.

Coming across like some feverish amalgam of St. Trinian’s and The Canterbury Tales as imagined by an especially feral Benny Hill three shudders shy of his fifteenth wank of the evening, Schoolgirl Report #8 situates the usual round of softcore sexcapades within the context of a series of lascivious discussions held between schoolgirls in the course of an end-of-term bus-trip. Half mad from the off with the want for a right good banging (this exasperated by the presence on the bus of a preternaturally well-buff male teacher) the girls console themselves by regaling one another with tales of right good bangings past, some revolving around encounters with handsome young lads who bear uncanny resemblance to that Irish priest that Robert Downey Jr. played in bits of Tropic Thunder, others featuring characters somewhat more akin to the kinds of randy, bandy-legged, judder-tongued old bastards you might find huddled in the corner of Budgens’ car-park wincing at a pair of fannies they’ve drawn on the back of a till receipt. Throughout all this is threaded a subplot concerning one member of the group who has recently discovered that she is pregnant, the drama culminating in a confrontation with her parents shortly after the bus has reached its destination.

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Initially, as with all of the entries in the series, there’s a fairly unsettling, even vaguely threatening, air of the illicit wafting about Schoolgirl Report #8, a reek of otherness that derives from how dubious the whole enterprise appears when approached from this vantage point. As Robin Bougie of Cinema Sewer has observed: “to today’s PC world that treats adolescent sexuality like the plague, these films are the forbidden fruit.” I’m not sure that I’m entirely convinced by that, given how popular teen sex comedies remain with mainstream audiences, but it is undoubtedly true that I found myself feeling considerably more nervous, more suspect, about sitting down with Schoolgirl Report #8 for a time, than would have been the case had I been set for watching Porky’s (1982) or American Pie (1999) or Project X (2012) (essentially Schoolboy Report vols. 1,2 and 3) or any of the other similarly themed pictures that happened to be screening on television or in the multiplexes over the past few months.

“The difference,” says Talbot, huffing past en route to the hallway, head bent with the morning’s store of Super T, “is that Schoolgirl Report is built purely for the nutting. Fuck all else that’s in it but stuff to nut to. If you’re not for nutting at it, you may as well be sitting there gawking at a box of old crow-beaks, for all the use it’ll be to you or to anyone else.”

“I dunno,” saying. “I think there might be two or three things else that’s in it, even if you don’t want to nut at it or you do. Wait now till you hear.”

In a review published in the May 2007 issue of Sight and Sound, Tim Jones described the original Schoolgirl Report as “nakedly exploitative” and yet “educational minded and idealistic… lending its voice to the tensions that had developed by the end of the 1960s between the post-war youth of West Germany and their overly strict, beer-chugging, Hitlerjugend parents.” Though much less didactic, this eighth instalment carries something of a subversive, progressive charge also. Authority figures, particularly male authority figures, are roundly derided as overbearing bullies, hypocritical moral arbiters, perma-bonered buffoons, and/or pitiful irrelevancies representative of a jingoistic, reactionary ideology that makes no more sense to these girls than might the thrumming of a knackered fridge-freezer to a passing bootlace.

Conversely, the girls themselves are smart, quick-witted, open-minded, and, crucially, possessed of an agency vis-à-vis their own sexuality that marks them as wholly distinct from the simpering, easily-manipulated playthings of a million pictures of similar stock. Indeed, the genre’s traditional gender roles are here frequently upended. Strong females peer through peepholes at bathing boys with more ballbag than brains. Men with character arcs that extend no further than the tips of their cocks are toyed with and ridiculed mercilessly throughout. One vignette sees a student wearily exploiting a wealthy businessman’s weakness for beautiful young girls - here as elsewhere in the film figured, somewhat hypocritically, as thoroughly pathetic - as a means of pulling her father back from the teeth of redundancy. And so on.

Image sleeve Schoolgirl Report Vol 6  Image sleeve Schoolgirl Report Vol 7  
     

  Of the original’s appeal to documentary legitimacy, on the other hand, only vague traces remain: in an outrageously disingenuous title at the outset, for example, informing us that the film stars “many uncredited adolescents and parents,” or in the utilisation of voiceover narration in the film’s final moments, informing us that schoolgirls are “not always stubborn and aggressive, as some newspapers would like us to believe. They love life, having fun, and they love their world. Why shouldn’t they believe that they will always be walking on sunshine, if only they keep both feet on the ground and view their environment realistically while living their life with vitality, like the girls in this Schoolgirl Report, which is based on actual events.”

“Based on actual events my scabby chute,” says Talbot, laughing. “Have they ever even spoken to an actual schoolgirl, have they? Do they even know what a schoolgirl is? Would they recognise it from a cut off an old knee, would they? Oh, Horatio…. God knows.”

He has a point. In the end the worst that can be said of Schoolgirl Report #8 is that as an exposé of the kinds of things that schoolgirls might be getting up to or strumming away over the thought of getting up to sometime shortly, it’s all a bit tame.

For example, when I was at school, everybody, myself included, was obsessed with a lass by the name of Redacted (here played by a lass called something else altogether, something like Rhonda Conner or Lauren Patterson or Diane Forrest or some damnable nonsense of a thing). “Oh she’s the quare bit of stuff,” folk would say. “Fine lass, oh I think so, yes.”

Anyway, there came a day when I was staggering about the corridor en route to the tuck shop, proper curdled on the poppers, face full of helicopters. “Tell you what I’m for doing,” I said, “is I’m for approaching that Debbie Lyons and announcing my intentions concerning this notion I have about bucking it up the wild style out back the youth club later this evening.”

“Oh no,” says so-and-so, “no I wouldn’t bother with that if I was you, for it’s nothing but a waste of your time and everybody else’s time that’ll have to listen to you after. I know four or six or seven of my own cousins that went out wi’ her at one point or another, and says they, listen, you’ve more chance of squatting there and shitting a treble clef than you have of getting that one to give up anything beyond the odd snap at the bra-strap on the left hand side, and that’s it, or maybe a bit of tongue, but no more than. She’s just not on for anything else, and that’s all there is to it, and she probably never will be.”

A couple months later that same lass was expelled, and nobody saw her again. It was years before we all learned that she had been caught down the north end of the playing fields, skirt up round her shoulders, rubbing handfuls of her own pish into the pelt of a crippled fox that she’d happened upon in the ditch next the mobile classrooms. A fierce bit of moaning she was doing at the time, by all accounts.
schoolgirl report  , aaron mcmullen  ,
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