...if it had a better storyline. Avere vent'anni (or "2b20") has a cult movie status. Until it was released in DVD few years ago with much claim and wawings by the cinema of genres lover. Originally released in 1978 2b20 was a complete failure and the producer forced the director Di Leo to change the final ending. But this resulted in nothing and the movie fell in forgotten unless for the lesbian scene between Gloria Guida and Lilli Carati, the most beautiful and sexy actresses of the Italian cinema in the 70's, both retired for good, the first as the wife of ultra famous Italian ecletic showman Johnny Dorelli, the second victim of terrible personal issues. I believe Di Leo wanted to show how the decadent society kills the young spirits like raping them. The sense of the final scene is that there is no space for the freewill and the spirit is killed by the dusty tradition. As usual Fernando Di Leo uses the women body to criticize the male stupidity, insecurity. But the dark mood of the end of the movie have nothing to share with the comedy of the whole movie. In this movie the main characters of the two girls make no sympathy to the audience but their brutal death will make u sad. Anyways they are no heroes for the director. It seems that all the society and all the people are not worth a cent, not even the two girls, they die as they were only a minority. It is very difficult to find a focal point in the movie. There is simply not storyline, the events have no importance in the whole movie. The director seems riding the line between an intellectual protest to the society (that the counterculture was a total failure) and a commercial sexy movie. Probably a major disappointment for the director himself this is a movie nice to see by the comedy side. Lot of nice jokes, good direction, scenes that makes sense on their own. Unfortunately there is no consequentiality hence the spectator has no sense of time. It looks like a telefilm, made of episodes, with the same characters, but with different subjects. The final dark ending, the rape, is demonstrating that the same Di Leo didn't even know if this was an intellectual research on the failure of counterculture and all kind of human cultures, or just a show of the beautiful bodies of the two actresses to the audience, who were the top at the moment. Again the big regret is the total lack of a storyline. This is not new in Di Leo's movie; especially in the poliziesco genre the storyline is usual simple and easy, like the sentiment of human beings and in fact he's more interested in characters psychology. But in Avere Vent'Anni he is not able to give credibility to the events, the time is not stressed in any way, and the action is episodic. Despite this Di Leo doesn't loose a pinch of his screenplay writer genius. The characters speak common language, not a Shakespearean litany, he puts words that sound real. The directing is perfect, also in this minor movie you can appreciate how good was the Italian director. The Actors: it seems that the director shaped the personality of the two main characters on the two girls. Guida and Carati pierce the screen, they have a beautiful photogenic face, but they are not good actress at all, and need to be dubbed. While the character of Carati is a though leading spirit, the one of Guida is humble, silent. I don't know if this is due to the real capability of the two actresses, I've seen many movies and they provide the same expressions of this films. The character try to live their life at the limit, to be real humans that take decision, but the two actresses are not able to give a better impression than being an inflating doll, and the idea of the free girls of the director is totally reversed by their poor acting! Some kind of importance has the character played by Ray Lovelock, who is an ex teacher disappointed by the culture and the society who turned a junkie. Vittorio Caprioli is "il Nazariota", the Sai Baba wannabe, the chief of the commune. He's old, fat, and a little dumb, and looks always concerned of the economic part of the commune, and never about the spiritual. He witnesses the end of counterculture, and the decadence of those principles that made dream the young guys in early 70's. Caprioli is a fetish actor of Di Leo, and he doesn't disappoint. Funny and great as ever. The real good surprise is made by the comedian Giorgio Bracardi, especially famous in his surreal radio performances. Well Bracardi is over the top here and plays the part of the police officer who will send back home the two girls. It's incredible. He is serious, but he can be funny, grotesque is the right word. His facial expressions are exaggerated and this is the funny thing in it. He's so real in the stereotype of the police officer, that he becomes funny.
This is an average movie. Nice to see and easy to forget about it. Di Leo has done some pictures with no time, real masterpieces fortunately rediscovered by the wise men at the beginning of this century. But Avere vent'anni is definitely not one of them. The movie was low budget and not well orchestrated like the other ones. The Di Leo style is present, but I rate 2b20 as one of his minor films.