34 user 7 critic

Maladolescenza (1977)

A teen boy grows from playing and fighting with his German-shepherd dog, to playing kids and adult games with two equally young girls, in a dream-like forest which eventually turns eerie, and somber.


Peter Berling, Dieter Geissler (dialogue) | 5 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Lara Wendel ... Laura
Eva Ionesco Eva Ionesco ... Silvia
Martin Loeb Martin Loeb ... Fabrizio


A teen boy grows from playing and fighting with his German-shepherd dog, to playing kids and adult games with two equally young girls, in a dream-like forest which eventually turns eerie, and somber.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Parents Guide:

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Italy | West Germany



Release Date:

6 May 1977 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Playing with Love See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Banned in the Netherlands since 2010, because the movie is considered as child pornography. It's the only movie that ever got banned in the Netherlands. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the end before the ending credits there is a quote from the hungarian author Kosztolányi Dezsö which in the movie mistyped "Deszo Kosztolanyi" See more »


Composed by Pippo Caruso
Directed by Pippo Caruso
See more »

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User Reviews

A clinical study of bullying
24 August 2007 | by przgzrSee all my reviews

The movie's fame makes people neglect its other contents. Questions about disturbing nudity mean closing eyes to avoid really disturbing questions and messages of the movie. Maladolescenza offers a dark, bleak, unpolished and sadly realistic picture of growing up, of the age that adults consider most beautiful years in whole life, either forgetting their youth, suppressing their memories the way people often do, or maybe indeed being so lucky to have a childhood of dreams.

And Maladolescenza is a dreamlike movie, a fairy tale that shows how easy can dreams become a nightmare, how close are fairy tales to horror. But it also confirms that never during whole human's life this extremes get so close as during school years.

Placing the movie in a inexpressibly beautiful nature is an ingenious decision. Such an ambient can hardly fail. "Mission", "Blue Lagoon", "Six Days Seven Nights", "Picnic at Hanging Rock"... but all these locations are rather exotic; Maladolescenza was filmed in the heart of Europe (though plot is carefully sited out of place and time) showing that beauty is all around if you just look for it. But it creates a contrast.

Apart from the first scene (a weird one, but a hint of Fabrizio's personality), the movie starts rather slowly, looking as a Saturday morning family movie. The idea to introduce only three characters appears to be effective - no one influences the kids, what makes the movie message even more disturbing: this shows what kids are, no one forces them to do what they do. Especially Fabrizio who lives in forest seems not to have much contact with rest of the world, his cruelty is immanent, essential. Sylvia is not much different, though she is a product of civilization: she not only joins Fabrizio's behaving, but induces more creative way of torture, gained in our modern "human" world. We can imagine her doing everything to be with most popular boy in the class, then with best sportsman in the school, later maybe with some pop-star...

Finally, Laura. The opposite character, played by Lara Wendel who came from nowhere. While Ionesco was already a famous photo model - her acting can be annoyingly stilted, but fits into Sylvia's character - and Loeb played main role in "Mes petites amoreuses", Lara is almost a newbie in movies as Laura is a newbie in teen-adulthood. But unlike Sylvia she is shy, obeys parent's orders (being home on time) and they trust her (letting her be away from home whole day). A perfect victim for bullying.

So this movie makes one of the best analyzes of bullying ever made on screen. A surprise for 70's, because the amount of this problem was recognized recently. Some movies dealt with bullying but hardly ever in such a pure form until Larry Clark's "Kids"; his "Bully", though using that word, deals with consequences of bullying in young adults (who still keep the same interpersonal relations). Only Scandinavians (who, at least in movies, understand children as if they had invented them) dare to handle it either as sub-plots or even main plots (Rubber Tarzan, Det skaldede spogelse, Saning eller konsekvens...). In other cinematographies victims of bullying are usually characters made to laugh at, as if they deserved their fate ("Back to Future" where Marty reverses the situation, what is unbelievable for real victim)..

Laura needs Fabrizio. She is lonely. This lonely forest is so uninhabited that she has no other peers. She grew up with Fabrizio and tolerates the changes he is going through. Believing it is only a passing period she accepts her role afraid she would be rejected otherwise. And here we see the difference between bullying and torturing or simple violence: Laura isn't running away or avoiding perpetrators (e.g. "Iluzija", "Bluebird", "Före stormen"), she constantly returns day after day hoping that things will become as they were before. But they never do. This obedience of the victim feeds bully's strength, his feeling of power grows.

Sexuality in the movie is not an expression of love (as some comments say) but it is also not a rape (as some others suggest). It is just the way victim is proving her loyalty and obedience.. In the beginning of the movie there is curiosity, peeking normal for the age, but once when bully-victim relation is established it affects the sexuality as well. Sylvia, who knows the real life better than Fabrizio and Laura, noticed or was told already that people (mostly females) can control others (mostly males) by proper use of sex. Fabrizio fell in trap, and Sylvia mixing the developing adolescent/adult sexuality and still existing child cruelty starts an avalanche that leads to tragedy.

For Laura this is not just one bad summer. Remember how she was happy to meet Fabrizio. She doesn't ever mention and never misses anything from outer world. Probably she hasn't good experiences there either, it's easy to assume she's been bullied in school too – victims are special type of children and bullies will always recognize them. And now, the only safe and beautiful place became equal or even worse than her everyday world. The only true and gentle friend became equal or worse than the others. It's not hard to trace this fate to psychic disorders or suicides, so frequent in teenage years.

People who are easily offended, whose attitudes don't allow them to watch certain content, shouldn't give a try to this movie. But they still shouldn't blame it for being shallow, worthless, just because of things they've heard about it. The best way of checking is, certainly, watching, and it could be more useful for people who work with children (teachers, psychologists, social workers, counselors) and for victims of bullying, to understand why they couldn't help themselves... though a question why no one else didn't help (them) always stays unanswered.

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