19 December 2014 | peterosenau
A failed experiment
It's 1968 and the sexual, cultural, social revolution is going on full speed. New concepts, ideas and contents are brought into the world of movies, too. And the European filmmakers scene, especially the Italian, is up front. "La rivoluzione sessuale" is one of those progressive, provocative and daring movies. But it's not a good one.
A professor invites 15 people of various age, gender and profession into a hotel. For 12 days, they have agreed to take part in an experiment: Every day the prof will allot a man and a woman to spend the night together, without any obligations, boundaries, love. His son Giorgio falls for the beautiful Stella and can't stand it seeing her allotted to other men. Others leave the experiment early or don't take it seriously. Tensions arise everywhere
This was certainly a new and interesting concept, trying to replicate the feeling of the hippie communities of the time, but in a more controlled environment. In today's media, swinging and adultery is omnipresent and has lost all taboo, but in 1968, this was still new and certainly fascinating to audiences. So this must be taken into account when criticizing the movie for being slow, boring, and comparably tame – which it is. After all there are a few glimpses of nudity.
We get to see the regular draw, then the couples move into their rooms. Some get right into the action, others talk, and in a few cases, nothing is going on. Most of the characters remain shallow and uninteresting – you don't really care if they sleep together or if they don't. And even when it's becoming evident the experiment isn't really working, the tensions between the participants do not add any value because you just don't care about the characters.
There is one slight exception – Giorgio, the professors' son, who is in love with one of the girls, is characterized a little bit better and you can reasonably understand his motivation. He's played by Ruggero Miti, who also played the weird kid in "Top Sensation", he performs quite well in both parts.
The aforementioned Stella is played by the very young and beautiful Laura Antonelli. By that time, she transitioned from TV and fotonovelas to the big screen. But this Stella is not a well-written part – she just does what everybody wants her to, walking around like after a lobotomy, claiming she's a free woman, but behaving more like an engaged hooker, and boy are her lines stupid
The screenplay is co-written by Dario Argento, whose later works are well known for fantastic visuals and atmosphere, but also for plot holes and incomprehensible character behavior. Especially the latter can be stressed for "Sexual Revolution". The weirdness begins when the professor introduces a stimulation chamber (it looks like a shower cubicle) that is apparently increasing the horniness of the girls. Almost sci-fi, it divulges the actually interesting premise to ridiculousness. Between the nightly gatherings, we get to see totally crazy parties and orgies in which the characters dance around either in the nude or in bizarre costumes. None of all that helps to build psychologic depth that this movie would need to work.
Well I watched this just because of Laura Antonelli. She didn't have too many 1960ies movies with large parts, but if you're just in for her, you'd better go for "Venere in pelliccia". I won't rate the movie, although I think you could say the deficiencies are obvious and can be witnessed without any subjectivity. An interesting concept not handled too well.