Greek Tragedy Viewed Through Japanese Eyes
Now here's a real oddity : a one time only directorial effort from highly regarded Japanese author Masuo Ikeda, with Italian co-funding in order to sidestep strict as well as erratic Nipponese censorship laws (to little avail as it would turn out), shot superbly (by Mario Vulpiani who photographed the underrated giallo THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW and Stuart Gordon's delirious CASTLE FREAK) on the ever photogenic Greek isles. Protagonist is a handsome young artist named Nikos (Claudio Aliotti from Lucio Fulci's GHOSTS OF SODOM) who lives in a boarding house run by love-starved divorcée Elda (Olga Karlatos, Mrs. One Eye from Fulci's ZOMBI 2) and her retarded daughter who has a serious crush on the womanizing painter. This initially exploitable character is played surprisingly (and indelibly) well by teen actress Sandra Dobrigna - billed here as Sandra Dobri - who you may recall as the little girl from the opening scenes of THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE. Her mere presence in what is essentially a sex film (relax, she's nowhere to be seen once textile is shed) gives a disturbing edge to this hothouse melodrama. Well, Ikeda IS Japanese, after all. The film's most explicit(though not hardcore) scenes involve Nikos and a pair of Swedish tourists, smoldering brunette Stefania Casini (from Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA) and a glowingly youthful, soon to become porn icon Ilona Staller a.k.a. la Cicciolina herself ! These two exquisite women share the movie's single most memorable carnal encounter as they languidly make love in a very white bedroom setting as Nikos is forced to watch from the sidelines. Ennio Morricone's plaintive score adds just the right touch of melancholy and foreboding doom this somewhat overwrought but impossible to forget miniature Greek tragedy demands. Check it out if you can find it.
- Sep 28, 2007
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