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Venice, sixteenth century. Giulio, a foreign gentleman spends a memorable night in the city where he meets and beds two beautiful women. They are Angela, a widowed lady, and Valeria, whose husband has left for Florence. Written by
Salvatore Santangelo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Venice, 16th century: The young, handsome Jules arrives in the city. Staying for one night only before journeying on, he is looking for an erotic adventure. There is the attractive girl Valeria, whose husband is out of town. Jules is deeply stunned by her and a date" is arranged at midnight. But someone else has laid eyes on him the lonely widow Angela, said to be the most beautiful woman of Venice. Tough choice for Jules...
The screenplay is adapted from a 16th century theater play by an anonymous writer, and that play is clearly in the same vein as Boccaccio's 14th century story collection Decameron", one of the most important and popular pieces of Italian Renaissance literature. So La Venexiana" offers a briskly told story with subtle comedy, underlying social criticism and lots of erotic situations. Basically the plot is rather thin and would have served better in a short story collection like Pasolino's 1971 Il Decameron". Therefore the screenplay extends the sex scenes, thus clearly setting the movie in the sexy comedy genre (I watched the 83 minutes version of the Italian DVD).
The movie is beautifully shot, taking advantage of the unique Venetian atmosphere around the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, an area which is even today quite unspoiled by tourism. The wonderful costumes, interiors and the Morricone score really take you back in time.
As mentioned, neither the plot nor the characters are very complex, but to make the best of it, the movie is told straightforward and manages to avoid any boredom. Jason Connery is quite alright as protagonist and womanizer, in fact it's not really up to him to carry the storyline. Most of the comedic elements are provided by the respective servants of Angela and Valeria, whereas the erotica is the job for the leading actresses Laura Antonelli and Monica Guerritore. The nudity factor is very high throughout, and it is all shot very elegantly and tastefully. Jules' romance with Valeria (Monica Guerritore), tagged as a true love", is the rather playful one-night-stand, while Angela is the melancholic, sad counterpart. Back then, in Venetian society, a widow couldn't have any new sexual relationships and is supposed to mourn forever, notwithstanding her passion and desire. A role taylor-made for Laura, and even though she had battled her status as a sex symbol for a long time, she is pure dynamite. Little wonder her encounter with Jules is shown for very, very long...
Overall, La Venexiana" is a diverting erotic comedy with tragic undertones, quite true to the classic play, adequately played and with great visuals, especially in the main discipline, the sex scenes. All those qualities can easily cover for the slight lack of substance in the story.
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