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Lialeh - Lialeh(Blu Ray) [Dark Force/ Code Red - 2021]

Lialeh is an enjoyable ‘n’ entertaining slice of very fleshy 1970’s Blaxploitation. It’s packed with playful hardcore set-ups, jiving-yet-fun pimped up vibe and a nicely grooving soundtrack by Bernard Lee "Pretty" Purdie- which blends funk and smoothly sexy soul-jazz. Here from the guys over at Dark Force/ Code Red, is a region free Blu Ray- which sadly has no extras, but we get an HD print from the only surviving 16mm negative.

Appearing in the year 1974 and filmed in/ around NYC Lialeh ( aka Black Lialeh) was the only film written and directed by the wonderfully named Barron Bercovichy( surely a pseudonym!). The film manages( to just about) a blend of well shot and prolonged fresh bound encounters with a sense of storyline/ plot flow- sure it’s far from a deep and complex screenplay/ story, but it has a beginning and an end!.
 
The plot focuses on smart-talking and pimp-dressing Arlo(Lawrence Pertillar), who is hosting an adult musical in a small and dingy theatre space. The film kicks off with Arlo auditioning players for the musical- we see a large breasted woman and athletic male, making it out in a comic and over the top way, with Arlo chatting with his moustached pianist- talking about the way the black mans always been pushed down, and how those auditioning are far from great. He’s decided he’s had enough and wants to call it a day….then in walks Lialeh(Jennifer Leigh) a skinny-yet spunky young woman who wants to sing and doesn’t mind showing skin. Initially her voice and dance routine is bad, then Arlo lands a kiss on her lips and tells her to give it her all. She kicks into a smooth and horn lined, but suggestively lyrical track- and before we know it she on her knees giving head while poking her own fire..
 
From here the film unfolds with first Arlo having fleshy encounters- one with a stern white and kung fu chopping secretary of his slum landlord, doing more than she expects with her two hot dog lunch. And another involving phone sex, literal flute pleasuring, and two female phone Clarks get in on with each other while listening to the call. He has an encounter with a soul food lover in his mirrored steel and fishbowl windowed pimped-out apartment, with the pair getting it on in a red and sunken tub bathroom. Later Lialeh gets in on the action again- with an encounter with a gospel priest who gets himself caught in his zipper, and Arlo's piano player who is worried about the size of his manhood. 
 
The seventy-one-minute film ramps up to the opening night of the musical- this kicks off with Bernard Lee "Pretty" Purdie and his band doing a jammed version of the films title track, with a topless large breasted woman dancing around and through the smiling ear to ear band. As we go on Lialeh does her big song and strip number, but the show is topped off in a great memorable/ jaw-dropping manner- we see three male dancers/singers and three female singers/dances- all are dressed in sparkly silver get-up, and are singing a track with the lead lyrics of ‘Black on the outside, pink on the inside’- then just when you not expecting it the men pull off the front of their suits, to start trusting….with the film winding up with a foursome taking place between one of the audience and the three male dancers. 
 
Moving onto this new region free Blu Ray- and the print, while a little damaged/ pockmarked, is bright and bold, both nicely picking up the fleshy tones and groovy/ pimped-up clothes. Sadly no extras here, which is a pity as it would have been nice to have a commentary track of some sort- to give some background/ history of the film. 
 
In finishing Lialeh is a great ‘n’ grooving slice of Blaxploitation sleaze- with memorable and playful encounters, great pimped-out treads, an amusing/ entertaining flow, and a funking- soulful- jazzed-out soundtrack. Pity about the lack of extras, but don’t let that put you off- as it really is worth checking out this release if you're in the market for fleshy ‘n’ fun 70’s Blaxploitation.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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