28 March 2004 | lazarillo
Surprising, refreshing, and honest
Although I have to admit, I watched this movie largely out of the prurient interest of seeing Dario Argento's lovely daughter naked and engaging in (reportedly unsimulated) sex scenes, I was genuinely surprised at how good this movie was. While Asia A. has said in various interviews that as a director she has been most influenced by her father, on one hand, and maverick NYC auteur Abel Ferrara, on the other, she demonstrates here, in her directorial-debut, a personal warmth and emotional honesty that is generally absent in the stylistic excesses of the former and usually lost in the sheer pathos of the latter. True, the movie does straddle and (occasionally crosses)the thin line between personal and self-indulgent, but generally it is a moving, semi-autobiographical story of a young woman who has had to, as Lou Reed, once put it "grow up in public". Strangely, the movie isn't really that erotic. One of the most memorable scenes, typical of the movie as whole, has the director/actress completely naked, shaving her armpits in the mirror. While she looks great, of course, there's nothing really sexy or contrived about this scene. She's just a normal girl, totally unself-conscious, going through a morning routine. Asia A. has been often treated by the tabloid press as an Italian version of Paris Hilton or some other scandal queen, but what she may very well turn out to be is another Sofia Coppola, emerging from the shadow of past scandals and a famous father to become a respected artist in her own right.