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Nest of Vipers (1978)

Ritratto di borghesia in nero (original title)
R | | Drama | 7 September 1979 (USA)
A background of rising fascism in Venice in 1930s. A music-student, Matthias, mixes with the town's bourgeoisie and falls in love with a mature teacher, Carla, the mother of his friend ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elena Mazzarini
Carla Richter
Amalia Mazzarini
Paolo Mazzarini
Maria Monti ...
Eros Pagni ...
Giancarlo Sbragia ...
Stefano Patrizi ...
Mattia Morandi
Renato Richter
Mattia Sbragia ...
Edoardo Mazzarini
Antonia Cancellieri
Suxanne Crese Bates
Raffaele Di Mario
Giancarlo Marinangeli

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A background of rising fascism in Venice in 1930s. A music-student, Matthias, mixes with the town's bourgeoisie and falls in love with a mature teacher, Carla, the mother of his friend Renato, and then with his young colleague, Elena. The themes include blackmail, betrayal, seduction, and eventually murder. Written by lament

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of an obsessed love...and the three destinies shaped by it.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nest of Vipers  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Ornella Muti and Senta Berger steam up the screen
28 February 2010 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

During the Fascist era, a music student in Venice Italy finds himself entangled with two decadent bourgeois families. He first falls for the young mother (Senta Berger) of one of his classmates (Christian Borromeo)with whom the latter has a rather strange relationship--the son calls the mother by her first name and often acts more like a jealous lover. The "Richler" family (the mother and son) are formerly wealthy bourgeois, but through them protagonist meets another family they are trying to marry into, a currently wealthy bourgeois family with a (presumably) gay, dour son and a very beautiful daughter, "Elena" (Ornella Muti). The conflict arises when the hero falls for the innocent, virginal "Elena" (who turns out to be not so innocent and virginal) and abandons the older woman. Jealousy, blackmail, and eventually murder ensue.

This is one of those films that kind of fall somewhere between art and exploitation, so it did not get kind of international release of either a high-brow Fellini or Antonioni art film, on one hand, or a Lucio Fulci-type zombie/cannibal gut-muncher, on the other. Still, it is better made than most Italian exploitation films and, at the same time. a lot more entertaining than most Italian art films (even if it is much harder to find than either). The film's main strength, of course, is the two women, Senta Berger and Ornella Muti, against which the hapless protagonist does not really have chance. These were two of the most gorgeous women in the world at the time, and they both have nice nude scenes (especially Muti). The two actresses also have a steaming hot inter-generational lesbian scene, which is a little gratuitous and not particularly believable, but, hey, who am I to complain? 60's French glamor actress Cappucine is also pretty good as Muti's mother. And pretty-boy Italian actor Christian Borromeo (who's only slight less pretty than Muti and Berger) gives the best performance of his career.

The Italian title translates to something like "Portrait of the Bourgeosis in Black" while the English title is "Nest of Vipers". Both are actually pretty appropriate. Good movie. Recommended

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