Triest in the year 1911. Ernesto is the priviliged, seventeen year old son of a jewish mother and a non-jewish father, who has deserted his family. He is raised by his uncle Giovanni and ... See full summary »
Set in 1911 Trieste, this is the story of a homosexual relationship between a 16 year old middle-class office clerk (Martin Halm) and an older common laborer (Michele Placido). Although the film has erotic sequences, some of them of great tenderness, its real intent is in the portrayal of a young, social-climbing manipulator. Ernesto eventually ditches the laborer and becomes enamored of young twins (one a boy, the other a girl!) from a wealthy family. The scenes in which the twins, both played by lovely Lara Wendel, flirt amorously with Ernesto are equal to anything from the films of Francois Truffaut. His possible marriage to the girl hints to him that he can have it both ways, the boy and the girl! This is really a film that appeals to all audiences and won numerous accolades at film festivals and during its limited release. It is based on a controversial novel in Triestino dialect by poet Umberto Saba, controversial because of its frank and unapologetic narration of love between an adult man and an adolescent boy. The movie also boasts Virna Lisi as Ernesto's worried mom, has marvelous period backgrounds and a very captivating musical score. It is an ironic, witty delight.