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Twisted and hilarious. Nietzschean morality and uncanny charm.
I would say it's a bad title but he really is sleazy--and beautiful. This is a great example of the you-forgive-his-sins-because-he's-an-artist movie. Like The Horse's Mouth but darker, deeper and funnier. Vittorio Gassman as the poet who won't draw the line at molesting women, stealing, lying yet his charm, innocence and life force conquer all. There's still something painful in the sins, and he has to go through a trial to work some of that out, for the viewer. Yet there's always another yet. Giancarlo Giannini shows humanity as the bourgeois foil. The movie isn't quite consistent: Gassman's crude hitting on women in a movie theater in the beginning seems unnecessary when you later see his seductive charm at work. He tries to sell, literally, a black mistress, who won't be sold. This odd scene seems more written than lived. He lies to a sympathetic niece, shaming her for suspecting his actual crime. Hard to take--but that's part of the point. You laugh, give in, and wonder about morality versus life. This guy really seems beyond good and evil. The end is touching, both sad and happy.
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