2 March 2009 | lazarillo
Japanese-Italian production more arty than your usual exploitation flick and more exploitative than your usual art film
A young pick-pocket meets a sheltered teenage girl at an art museum while trying to lift her wallet. He falls in love with her and lures her to deserted strip of beach where he pretends his stolen motorbike has broken down and they are stranded. An unlikely romance follows.
This movie superficially seems a lot like a couple of contemporary Hollywood films, "The Blue Lagoon" and Franco Zeferelli's "Endless Love". But it also has a kind of European class-consciousness those films lack, putting it more in the category of earlier Italian films like "La Orca" or, especially, the early Ornella Muti film, "A Summer Affair". Like the Muti film, it is a little ridiculous in places. It's hard to believe there could be such a deserted stretch of beach so close to Rome. And the pair aren't even gone one night before they end up on the front page of the paper as an alleged kidnapping! (guess it was a slow news day). The male protagonist has kind of an Oliver Twist-type family with two brothers who are also thieves and a Fagin-like, but strangely also very religious, mother. Unfortunately, the English dubbers felt the need therefore to have them all talk in bad 19th century Cockney accents.
Still, this movie is a little more arty than your average exploitation flick, and little more exploitative than your usual art flick. It's a very good role for Leanora Fani, a very pretty Italian actress who was famous for taking her clothes off a lot in sleazy movies like "Giallo a Venezio" and "Naked Massacre"--it's good to see her take her clothes off a lot in a little more classy movie. Interestingly, the director of this was Japanese. This was actually a Japanese-Italian co-production that, according to author Jaspar Sharp, when it was released in Japan, was not entirely "optically fogged" in the full-frontal nude scenes, thus Fani apparently broke the Japanese "pubic barrier" (briefly) a whole decade before another European actress, Emmanuelle Beart, did in "La Belle Noisseuse".
The version I saw was not "optically fogged". It looked like crap, it had burned in Greek subtitles and was horribly dubbed into English, but it was not "optically fogged". Like a lot of these films I think it would be vastly improved with a better presentation, but it's still worth seeing.