|Index||4 reviews in total|
This was an Italian movie trying to be an American-style thriller. The
blurb in the paper called it an Italian Thelma and Louise, but I wouldn't
give it that much credit. It did hold my attention throughout--at no
did I want to get up and walk out of the theater, although quite a few
people did. There were a few non-plot related scenes the director handled
nicely. She captured a mood--dark and gloomy. And the two lead actresses
were quite good, and quite uniquely attractive. But overall, the film was
I blame the writing. This was a screenplay that should have never gotten made into a movie. Just about everything related to the advancement of the plot was carried off awkwardly. Too many extreme coincidences, unbelievable situations, too many people behaving like no real human would ever behave.
In particular, there were these three wild, psychotic teenagers who appeared out of nowhere, and decided to chase and torment the two leads throughout the movie, with absolutely no motivation, and constantly reappearing at the very most improbable moments. The screenwriter relied almost totally on this for the movie's tension--just plain lazy and stupid writing. I mean, c'mon, the two lead characters were toting around a dead body for most of the movie. There are scads of more natural possibilities to build suspense around that. There's no need for crazed teenagers.
And also, unfortunately, there was no nudity in this movie, and just a couple of very brief and mostly clothed love scenes between the two women. I'm not saying that all movies, or even all lesbian movies, require sex and nudity, but since this was basically an exploitation film, it should have been a bit more exploitative, or else there's nothing much to recommend it.
I don't recommend it. 4.5/10 rounds up to a weak 5/10.
If you are looking for lesbian sexploitation, you are in the wrong
place. Sure, Stella (Maya Sansa) and Lenni (Regina Orioli) are lovers,
but their sex scenes are chaste.
Lenni's mom (Mariella Valentini) is visiting and slaps her and Stella hits her back. She dies and they put the body in a dump and plan to get out of town. Mom brought 20 million lire (10,329.20 Euros or 14,539.38 U.S. dollars), so they had money.
They keep getting chased by this band of thugs who want their money. They have no clue how much.
The film starts in a gas station, and they end up back there and end in a Thelma and Louise variation.
The movie just never had a spark that made it great. I was good enough for a GLAAD nomination, but not for a win.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Benzina is an extremely interesting film which allows for a sympathetic portrayal of two young lesbians, Stella and Lenni, who attempt to escape from the aftermath which unfolds after the accidental death of Lenni's overbearing mother. The pace of the film is perfect and it is shot in stark colours, stripping away the usual glamour of Italy, also shooting it in more industrial settings such as motorways and petrol stations gives it the grittiness of films like Micheal Winterbottom's Butterfly Kiss. The post modern road movie allows the protagonists to take a trip and almost escape, yet they end up right back in their own petrol station, trying to escape the macho Italian men who have been trailing them throughout, that intensity along with the attempted dumping of a cumbersome corpse who lets her feelings become known, allows for an intriguing and beautifully shot film. The well shot and loving (clothed) sex scene is incredibly sweet and matches the intensity of the couple's relationship.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As is the case when a director makes their feature film debut the end
result is usually a film that is earnest in it's attempts but to rough
around the edges to be completely successful. Story is about two
lesbians that try to hide a body after an accidental mishap but things
keep going wrong with their plans. Lenni (Regina Orioli) works for her
lover Stella (Maya Sansa) in a gas station and one day her mother
(Mariella Valentini) whom she hasn't seen in two years comes in and
causes trouble. Lenni's mother slaps her and this prompts Stella to
enter the scene and strike her back which results in her hitting her
head and dying. They decide to try and hide the body somewhere but a
car with three troublemakers comes buy and gets some gas and Stella
scratches their car as they leave.
They put the body of Lenni's mother in the trunk of their car and drive off to find someplace to dispose of her but things go wrong when they lose their dog and they meet the three troublemakers again who harass them and want their money. The situation ends up back at the gas station where the film concludes with the troublemakers wrecking the place and Stella hoping that they can make it look like they were robbed as the police are due to show up.
This film is written and directed by Monica Stambrini who after making several shorts is making her debut with a feature length film and while it has moments of complexity the script just seems to be a rewrite or two away from being really anything special. This has been described as the lesbian version of "Thelma and Louise" and it does have a few scenes that remind you of that film but this is less energetic than that story. The two leads give earnest performances but they seem to lack any real energy although Orioli is effective as the mousy Lenni. Stambrini shows a flair for telling offbeat stories but this film can't be interpreted as anything but an honest effort by a fledgling director.
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