Based on a novel by Lorenzo Silva, this movie deals with the unusual and tragic relationship between a frustrated businessman and a 14-year-old student. After crashing into the rear of the ... See full summary »
The main character is a nameless boy (Juan Jose Ballesta) who was taught to steal wallets by his absent mother. He is able to do the trick effortlessly, using his "earnings" to survive ... See full summary »
Juan José Ballesta,
"The Anarchist's Wife" is the story of Manuela who is left behind when her husband Justo fights for his ideals against Franco's Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. He is deported to ... See full summary »
Juan Diego Botto,
Melissa lives with her mother and her grandmother in Sicily. She has a close relationship with her grandmother, a heavy smoker, who seems to be the only person in the world who understands Melissa. Melissa's father lives in another country. One day Melissa and her friend go to a party at a school friend's home. While there, Melissa meets Daniele, a boy from the school, and has her first sexual experience. The experience is far from being what Melissa always has dreamed it would be, because Daniele forces her and later forgets her. However, Melissa has fallen in love with Daniele. Back at school, when Melissa tries to get Daniele's attention, he barely remembers her. He takes advantage of Melissa's feelings for him, convincing her to have sex with him whenever he wants. When Melissa discovers Daniele's true motivations, she takes revenge by having even wilder sexual experiences with him and other boys. She even begins keeping a diary to document her sexual experiences. Melissa's mother... Written by
There are several things that annoy me about modern-day teen films to the extent that I very rarely watch them. First, the "teenagers" these films are invariably played by very attractive, mature-looking actors (this is the nature of cinema in general, but it probably doesn't do much for the self esteem of actual teenagers). Second, teenagers in movies are always single-mindedly obsessed with sex to the exclusion of pretty much anything else. (When was the last time you saw a film about a group of teenage friends making a pact to all get into a good college before they graduate?). Third, despite the obsessive focus on sex and an entire cast of gorgeous twenty-something "teenagers", American teen films at least are ironically quite prudish about actually showing any sex or nudity because they have to get the all-important PG-13 rating from the idiots at the MPAA . On the other hand, if the films are R-rated and aimed more at adults, they tend to be ridiculous alarmist tracts about the morals of "kids today".
This Spanish-Italian co-production is some ways stereotypical, but in some ways refreshing. The lead, Maria Valverde, was only 18 at the time. Still, she is an absolutely beautiful girl and NOT remotely believable as a naive virgin being taken advantage of sexually by her male peers. (Girls that look like her probably don't even date their gawky male peers, and are only taken advantage of by older male modeling agents). She is also quite obsessed with sex and rather unaccountably so. She really doesn't have to give up her virginity to an abusive douchebag, but even if she does, it's not clear why this turns her into the kind of crazed nympho rarely seen outside a porn film. At least this movie does not have to hypocritically kowtow to the MPAA--Valverde's character is first introduced topless and masturbating. And while the subsequent sex scenes aren't necessarily graphic by European standards, they'd no doubt make the blue noses at the MPAA downright apoplectic.
This movie isn't an alarmist indictment of a whole generation, but it is guilty of lurid sensationalism. It was based on a "confessional" teen autobiography that in turn was probably inspired by the seminal confessional teen autobiography "Christiane F.". But instead being about a teen heroin addict, it's about a promiscuous teen sex addict. I have a hard time believing that sex is addictive as heroin though for ANYBODY, but obviously the audience gets more of a vicarious thrill from watching a pretty teenage girl having lots of sex than watching a scuzzy junkie shoot up. This movie does try to delve into other areas of the girl's life like her relationship with neglectful, lonely and single (but, of course, very attractive) mother, and her beloved grandmother (Vanessa Redgrave),who's hilariously stuck in the libertine Swinging 60's era.
Maria Valverde would go on to better things like "Cracks" with Eva Green and Juno Temple, and "Madrid 67", which was even more sexually graphic, but also gave her much more opportunity to act. This was a pretty inauspicious debut for her, but it's not terrible.
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