Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Avere vent'anni"(1978)d/Fernando Di Leo

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We're gonna draw focus upon some rare genre gems in the coming weeks here at the Wop, so keep your eyes peeled.Also you may have noticed the new warning:adult content page I've been forced to slap up recently, due to content complaints, I'm guessing, from someone who's no champion of boobs, blood, or bush; or perhaps it was my colorfully abrasive descriptive style that done me in, either way, the warning's here to stay for now, so just bypass it to get right down to the nitty gritty, as a filth-peddling hippie band that I hate used to sing(I think Di Leo's with me).And "Up yer nose wit a rubber hose!" to whatever sorry bastard dimed me out.I'll take it out on yer mudder's mons pubis the next time I'm over there teaching her a lesson in humility with my big ass-spankin' mitts.Oh yeah, speaking of hippies, that brings us to our movie.
Tonight's review is an odd little number from the gent who brought us La bestia uccide a sangue freddo(1971) and Vacanze per un massacro(1980), as well as Italian crime dramas like Shoot First,Die Later(1976) and I padroni della città aka/Mr. Scarface that same year.This film didn't really fit into any sub-genre popular at the time in Italy and therein lies the attraction, for me anyway.It kinda plays like your typical Italian sexploitation movie right up to its "Huh?!!" ending.More about that later.Though Lilli Carati certainly matches up to my brunette-oriented lust criteria, once coming second as Miss Italy in the mid-seventies, my ocular magnet prize in tonight's feature is the luscious Gloria Guida(Miss Teen Italy '74), hands down.Is it any wonder when they repackaged the film for American distribution as "To Be Twenty", they changed the bummer ending and marketed it as a devil-may-care pro-hippie sex comedy.By the end of this entry, you'll realize the absurdity of that statement.Oh yes, there will be spoilers.
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There's something missing here.If you said "B.W.", give yourselves five points.
Lia(Lilli Carati)and Tina(Gloria Guida) connect while skinny-dipping in the ocean after a love-in on the beach.Both young, beautiful, and pissed off, the two striking Euro-drop outs set out to hitchhike their way to Rome, finding difficulty doing so despite their ample cleavage and gams-fer-days on display.In Rome, blessed/armed with their bountiful busoms, obscenity-laden mouths, and an inborn hatred for the morality of capitalism, the she-hippies happily shoplift their way to the commune of Nazariota(Vittorio Caprioli), where they hope to score some free room and board,and some Bohemian Roman dick while they're at it.The fat hippie guru breaks it to them that life in the city costs money, and if they have none, they'd better be prepared to to do some work("Get pissed off in the kitchen" he tells them matter-of-factly).Hell, even potential lovers are hard to come by here, either too zooted on drugs or too unwashed to get next to.Finally, Nazariota forces them to fuck for the rent, resulting in a sizeable orgy of softcore proportions before the watchful eyes of a mime named Coco who adds his own unnerving interpretive hand gestures, creeping out the guys and leaving the girls unsated, so they explore each other instead in a sapphic duet afterwards, culminating in a music video-esque carefree traipse through the streets to an Italian pop tune; sort of a dated discomercial for freedom.Ironically, an independent film crew shoots a documentary on the very same subject at the commune, where feminist actresses recite the works of Valerie Solanas, after which, Lia scores a lay from a smacked-out hunk of he-hippie(Ray Lovelock) she'd had her eyes on.Tired of sexing up the resident burnouts, the girls find themselves pawning encyclopedias door to door, spurring on some more flesh-based hijinks.
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Young, beautiful, and pissed off.Just how I like 'em!
Next, the commune gets raided in a crackdown on "revolutionary activity"(totalitarian v. hippie makes for some notable interrogation exchanges) and they're all hauled off to the klink, ending with the girls kicked out of town, as a pair of indolent hookers.This 'freedom' gets more glamorous by the minute.As they bid the region farewell, unfazed by their recent public humiliation, the girls make a pit stop at a country family-style diner for some jukebox-fueled ass-shaking in short shorts to a crowd of male patrons.Some of the guys groove on their sultry carnal vibes, but others are gobsmacked by the disrespectful display of girl goodies, especially when the hot young chicks seem to be more into each other, and not the daring young dagos who break out an Italian chicken dance for the attention of the scruffy tearaways, now affectionately referred to as the "two little bitches" by the increasingly brutal male crowd whose muscling and groping leads the girls to break away and out of the cafe.They walk along a lonely country road towards the main highway when they're surpised by several carloads of men from the diner with not a single good intention amongst the lot of them.A shortlived chase into the woods ensues, but the girls are captured, stripped, and beaten.Lia gets her skull cracked with a tree branch, while Tina is held upside down and raped with one(!)."Teasing..." says one of the men as the group disperses.The girls' tape player is accidentally kicked on, cuing some sugary pop music which brings us to the credits.
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All the Italian kids enjoyed hours of wholesome fun with their new Stretch Putanna action figure.
The American cut ends with the girls, about to brutally raped and murdered in the woods, pardoned at the last possible moment by a warning that the police are on their way from one of the killers, leaving the film a brainless hippie tits n' ass-o-thon like so many clones in its wake, with precious little message or social commentary to pass along.The message of Di Leo's original cut is painfully clear:The cruel world has no place for such a blithe outlook.Powerful stuff, effectively delivered.The gorgeous Gloria Guida put in overtime in sexploitation work such as Blue Jeans(1975),The Teasers(1975), Indagine su un delitto perfetto(1978) and Prickly Pears(1980), before settling in as a regular on various Italian television series as genre vet Ray Lovelock did afterwards. Lilli Carati, on the other hand, unfortunately plummetted into a vortex of hard drugs and triple x pornography after 28 'legit' movies, appearing in five pornos helmed by Joe D'Amato, Giorgio Grand, and even Alex de Renzy.Pretty volcanic stuff, for what that's worth.Avoid the dumbed down U.S. cut, which happens to be included on the special edition dvd by Raro, but instead check out the original Italian print(also on the Raro release) to see a provocative and unforgettable movie.It's this version that merits three wops and a high recommendation.
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...la vita è bella ad un'età di vent'anni... a meno che qualcuno stia inserendo un ramo di albero nella tua fica.
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2 comments:

Nigel Maskell said...

dunno how I feel about spoilers for this one- I recommend the film to just about everyone but for me the degree of spoiler depends on the viewer- because when this film came out on raro it was the first time I'd seen the film, knew little about it and the ending was a bolt from the blue- luckily I watched the right version I watched first otherwise I think I would never have got that far.

anyhow- back to the spoilers- I think sometimes you have to warn some people that there will be "something" because those in the know do know what a shock the ending is- and is made more powerful due to such a shift of tone.

The ending makes me think of the ending of Midnight Blue- and there is definitely a similar message in both endings, and both feature Vincenzo Crocitti by coincidence.

I think the true joy of DiLeo, without sounding all precious about this stuff, is it can be enjoyed on a number of levels- if you want to think about stuff there is a message in so many of his films and a social commentary aspect, if you just want balls out exploitation film then it all works as that just as well.

beedubelhue said...

Couldn't be helped,mate.I HAD to give away the spoilers to be able to throw certain puns into the entry, so I just went ahead and SPOILED everything!Midnight Blue,eh?Let me dig that one out of the crates...


-Wop

 
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