A May-December romance. Roué Giulio Marengo, a Roman landscape architect unhappy in his marriage, meets Francesca, a young and beautiful Florentine, and then learns she might be his ... See full summary »
A May-December romance. Roué Giulio Marengo, a Roman landscape architect unhappy in his marriage, meets Francesca, a young and beautiful Florentine, and then learns she might be his daughter. He resolves to keep his hands off but can't seem to stay away, and she's eager for a lover who's a father figure. He's happy to be a kid, so he tries to find out who her father is; his wife knows something is up; his daughter, who's Francesca's age and is pregnant, encourages the affair. Should he tell Francesca his fears that it might be incest? If he tells her and she doesn't care, what next? And what of his wife, who still wants to be married? Francesca takes control. Written by
Nastassja Kinski 1978: star power of the first order of magnitude
"Stay as You Are" was Nastassja Kinski's fifth film following the 1975 Wim Wenders, "The Wrong Move," a so-so 1976 "To the Devil...a Daughter," and the two forgettable's: 1977 "Only For Your Love" and the 1978 "Boarding School." It is an Italian film of the time with its own mores with respect to extra marital affairs - a repeated undercurrent in many Italian films. "Stay as You Are" follows an older man who is contemplating an affair with a young girl, Nastassja Kinski, who is the same age as his own daughter but with the complication that Nastassja may actually be his real daughter from an affair of twenty years ago. A good European director can finesse this sort of situation. Most American directors would be over their heads and would be fortunate if they could tread water because the subject would be taboo in the American market. The actor is the legendary Marcello Mastroianni who at the time would have been 54. In viewing her early films, it is hard to not conclude that Nastassja has a birth year of 1959 and not the claimed 1961 because of her physical development. Perhaps she was just precocious. That would have placed her at nineteen for this film. The next year would give us Roman Polanski's "Tess" and "Stay as You Are" was a good prelude because it showed that, even at her young age, Nastassja had the screen presence to carry movies on her own opposite one of the European super stars of the time. The VHS tape that I saw was dubbed into English with neither voices matching either Nastassja's or Mastroianni's actual voices. For me, it is better to watch a movie in its native language with English subtitles, unless the principal actors do their own dubbing. An awful example of English dubbing is the French movie "La Femme Nikita." The voice is an integral part of an actor's screen presence, unless playing a mute like Nastassja did in "The Wrong Move." Some actors always sound the same, movie after movie. Nastassja Kinski is able to change her voice, according to the the needs of her role. She is one of very few actresses who is fluent in multiple languages. In "To the Devil...a Daughter" it is English, "The Blonde" it is Italian, "Moon in the Gutter" it is French, "Terminal Velocity" there is a little Russian. The bulk of her movies are in English. "Faraway, So Close" there is both German and English. "Paris, Texas" has Nastassja in a convincing Texan accent in which one would be hard pressed to know from the voice that it is she.
Marcello Mastroianni always seems to bring a signature vulnerability whose intensity varies with the role. These characters are usually thoughtful and contemplative with an edge of awkwardness. Another way of putting it, is that these roles usually have depth. In "Stay as You Are" Mastroianni is almost entirely reactive to Nastassja's character. At first, he pursues her, then she pursues him because she likes older man. Then it is back and forth. Nastassja has to carry the movie. Sometimes she is flighty and silly. Other times she is serious. Her physical beauty is easily matched by her acting talent. Her movements are fluid, sometimes discontinuous, and her face ever changing as appropriate to the situation. Nastassja Kinski is a great natural actress who makes everything look easy. Her performances are always intelligent with a screen savviness that can be mesmerizing.
"Stay as You Are" is a tender romantic jewel that is difficult to find on VHS tape and expensive, if found. Along with "The Wrong Move," it would benefit from a first class transfer onto DVD with commentaries from Wim Wenders and Nastassja Kinski. I would have to include both "The Wrong Move" and "Stay as You Are" in any list of her core set of movies. There is a region 2 DVD widescreen version that is playable on a computer DVD, but it is in Italian with no English subtitles. With its not unexpected symmetry, "Stay as You Are" and Nastassja Kinski is cinema magic.
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