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After being premiered in a long version running 163 minutes, the film bombed spectacularly at the box office and was quickly re-cut by the producers and re-released in a shorter 125 minutes version against the wishes of director/star Adriano Celentano, who sued and asked that the film be withdrawn from theaters. All TV versions feature the shorter cut. See more »
Joan Lui – Ma Un Giorno Nel Paese Arrivo Io Di Lunedi' (Adriano Celentano, 1985) **1/2
Many an Italian pop singer dabbled in cinema (there was something of a boom in the 1960s, though few if any seemed to cater beyond their strictest fan-base) but, past that initial phase, Adriano Celentano harbored ambitions to make his own films (writing, directing, obviously scoring and even editing his own material!). Curiously enough, I came across 4 of his vehicles practically simultaneously: 2 of which were helmed by notable directors, Pietro Germi's SERAFINO (1968) and Pasquale Festa Campanile's RUGANTINO (1973), and a couple more – the picture under review and the earlier YUPPI DU (1975; which has recently been re-edited and shown at the last Venice Film Festival!) – he made himself. This oddly-named movie (the long title translating to JOAN HIM – BUT ONE DAY IN THE COUNTRY I WILL ARRIVE ON A Monday!) is actually the first I watched of them – included in my epic/religious marathon due to its Christ allegory. The star, of course, is the Messiah figure who, as a sign of the times (though hardly an original concept: see Peter Watkins' PRIVILEGE ), imparts his message – after the preliminary consternation – via the established media of our age. Even so, unless one understands the phenomenon – which endures to this day – of the wiry Celentano himself (a combination of quasi-neanderthal features and an equally distinctive raspy voice), one may well end up baffled by this whole self-indulgent enterprise especially since the character is never seen to do much of anything (for instance, he monopolizes the airwaves, consequently notching up record TV ratings, but ends up making just a split-second silent appearance!). The songs are typical 1980s electro-pop but still bearing the star's particular signature, especially the number performed in a discotheque named "The Temple" sporting deliberately gibberish lyrics set to a catchy rhythm! A still attractive Claudia Mori (Celentano's real-life wife) is featured as a Communist female reporter, Marthe Keller plays his long-suffering agent and the character of a chauffeur-turned-assistant is played by the bespectacled (and most prominent) member of a stand-up comic trio dubbed "I Tre Tre". Of course, within such a framework, there also has to be a corresponding figure of evil – represented here, albeit not too convincingly, by an Asian crime boss: actually, he first appears as a lame person cured by Joan Lui at the aforementioned disco, subsequently kidnaps the singer along with his two closest collaborators to his vast estate (before whom they even get to sing and dance!), has a penchant for speaking in Celentano's own voice (to mirror the dual nature of a man's soul) and is ultimately metamorphosed into a snake (a creepily effective scene) at the Armageddon-type climax. While I cannot say that the film has made me want to rush into checking out the star's other work, being more interesting for what it attempted to do than the uneven achievement in itself, there is no denying that it is arresting in spots (thanks to the kinetic editing style and the odd surreal image like the nightmare sequence featuring a cross-bearing, long-haired and bearded Celentano!) and the star's own magnetic/enigmatic personality is still enough of an incentive for one to keep watching.
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