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A young man, armed with a magical bow and arrows, embarks on a mystical journey through a mystical land to rid it of all evil and joins forces with an outlaw to take down an evil witch bent on claiming the magic bow for evil.
Conrado San Martín
In 2072 Rome, Italy, the ruthless CEO of a TV network plots to stage a modern series of gladiator games for ratings while one 'contenstant' learns of a conspiracy behind the true nature of the results.
In 1599 Italy, Beatrice Cenci is the teenage daughter of the crazy landowner and nobleman Francesco Cenci whom he keeps his daughter locked up in the dungeon of his castle for his plaything, sexually abusing her when he feels like it. Beatrice then plots with her stepmother, her besotted servant Olimpio, as well as a local bandit, named Catalano, to plan Francesco's murder.
This is further evidence that Lucio Fulci was a man of many talents before becoming bitter at diminishing budgets and the pigeonholing of his skills into gory horror. Here, Fulci gives us a historical drama about the corruption of the Catholic church (and not for the last time!) as well as the hypocrisy of Roman nobility, It's gory and horrible too, but in a dramatic, historical way!
Beatrice Cenci is the daughter of Francesco Cenci, a Roman nobleman whom we first see feeding a man to a pack of dogs. He's a nasty bastard all right, and has done something to offend the current Pope and now has to make amends by giving up a third of his wealth. His children all hate him, even Beatrice, who has petitioned the Pope behind his back in order to enter the church as a nun. This breaks the heart of her lover, Vassal Tomas Milian, but he still remains loyal and goes with her wishes.
However, while celebrating the death by smallpox of his two eldest sons(!), Francesco finds out about Beatrice wanting to join the church and arranges instead to keep her captive in the basement of his tower until he dies which seems to happen almost immediately after he says that. As the film jumps back and forth on the timeline, we don't get to see what happened right away, which allows the Catholic Church to hire medieval Colombo to sort the mystery out! Should that be D'catolic choich?
Yes, the film is gory and full of violence and torture, but I think this only goes to show how awful human beings actually are and how corrupt the Catholic Church were back then. Folks are put on racks, burned with tongs, and one character foreshadows many a future Fulci film by having a huge nail rammed into his eye. That said, the film is not cheap looking and it's all deadly serious. Everything looks exactly like a Fulci film too – no matter how cheap his films became in the late eighties, they still retained that certain look.
Tomas Milian stands out here as the repressed, subdued servant which had me worrying if he would ever do his 'covered in filth, screaming' bit (it happens about an hour in). It's depressing stuff, but it's also interesting to see these directors working in different fields. I'm not watching any of his comedies however, although I do like the title The Senator Liked Woman's Bottoms.
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