Thursday, May 6, 2010

Directed by Joseph W. Sarno: The Indelicate Balance (1969)

A once lost and nearly completely unknown film that set on the shelf for over thirty years, The Indelicate Balance is one of the more striking and surprising works in the film canon of Joe Sarno. A family drama much closer in spirit to Ingmar Bergman than any of the other so-called sexploitation filmmakers that Sarno is often grouped with, The Indelicate Balance will probably come as a bit of shock to film fans who only think of Sarno as a director of low-budget skin-flicks.
Shot in Sweden in 1968 in just under three weeks with a cast of mostly inexperienced, but extremely talented, actors The Indelicate Balance is an unrelenting look at a once close family being ripped apart lies, deception and incest. An intense and humorless work propelled by Sarno's wonderfully realized script that teeters between striking realism and heavy melodrama, The Indelicate Balance is one of Sarno's hardest films to shake even though it remains one of his least known.
According to Michael J. Bowen's excellent DVD liner notes, that graced The Indelicate Balance for its release as a bonus on Retro Seductions excellent The Seduction of Inga disc, the film never had a theatrical release and only one print of it exists. What a strange and sad fate for such an unnerving and accomplished work. The Indelicate Balance is now hard to track down as that Seduction of Inga DVD was a numbered limited edition and it has been out of print for a few years. Used copies can be found but the price tag can be hefty. Hopefully Retro Seduction will see fit to re-release The Indelicate Balance again in the future for more Sarno fans to discover.

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