After a series of releases from erotic cinema specialist Tinto Brass’s early career, Cult Epics now gives us one of his latest works. Marta (Anna Jimskaia) loves her husband Dario (Max Parodi), but he has become inattentive and selfish in bad, when he shows any interest in sex at all. Feeling lonely and unappreciated, Marta takes in the sights of Mantua, and in a museum she encounters Leon (Riccardo Marino, who is no more French than I am Martian), a sexually aggressive alpha male with whom she begins a passionate affair, with an eye (of course) to re-igniting Dario through jealousy.
As one would expect of a Tinto Brass film, this is a very handsome, lush affair, with some striking compositions and sets. There are moments at a swanky outdoor party that bring to mind the likes of Peter Greenaway. At this party, various characters (including Brass himself) get into a brief philosophical discussion on pornography and sex, and this moment encapsulates the Achilles’ Heel of Brass’s oeuvre. He has always struck me as a filmmaker who is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is. His early work, especially Deadly Sweet, is, I think, the most interesting, because its self-indulgence is married to an insanely excessive cinematic frenzy. Bored with what’s on screen? Wait five seconds. Here, though, the more disciplined technique is accompanied by a deeply pedestrian story. Revive your marriage through an affair? Ye godz, that’s a storyline that dates back to the Triassic period. Meanwhile, Brass gives his obsession with rear ends free rein. He’s certainly a filmmaker who is true to his passion, but the drooling male fantasy can get a bit embarrassing.
Eye candy is where Brass is at, and as I mentioned earlier, he does make very pretty films. This is no exception. There is a warm, rich, lavish quality to the colours, and the transfer is excellent. Though there is a bit of grain visible, this is offset by the strength of the contrasts, blacks, flesh tones and reds. The aspect ratio is the original 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.
A pretty solid 5.1 here. While one doesn’t feel completely plunged into the world of the film, the score’s mix is more than acceptable, and there are enough sound effects given the surround treatment to keep up interest. The result isn’t going to give The Dark Knight any sleepless nights, but it is fine to be getting by on. The Italian-language track is definitely the one to go with here.
The Making of Monamour: (15:54) A decent featurette of its type. One can’t help but raise an eyebrow as Brass discusses the film’s premise as if it were pretty deep stuff.
Trailers: Including a teaser for Kick the Cock, wherein Brass himself leers at a parade of naked maids. More intriguing is the trailer for Radley Metzger’s Score.
While I don’t think I’m ever going to be completely won over by Brass, I do applaud Cult Epics’ commitment to the filmmaker, and that commitment takes the form of another solid package here.