Thursday, July 29, 2010

In short: Delitto Carnale (1983)

A rich man has died in a rather surprising accident. The "bereaved" don't seem to miss him much, yet still all arrive in the empty hotel the dead guy lived in to wait for his funeral that lies some days in the future.

Because everyone's rich and decadent and bored and desperate everybody begins to have sex with everybody else - when they're not screaming at each other in anger or refusing to have sex, that is. How much of the copulation is incestuous is a bit difficult to say, because the film's not too clearly explaining the details of the family tree, but I'd wager a lot of it is, incest fans.

After fifty minutes of that, the director suddenly remembers that the film's supposed to be a giallo, and so one member of the family is found dead. The police decides that the best thing to do in a case like this is to investigate by locking the family in at the hotel and stare at the building from outside. It's probably good for the gene pool.

Delitto Carnale is a giallo of the decadent late phase of the genre that doesn't really want to be a giallo anymore, and would rather forget the visual style and the violence and be a softcore porn film. In this respect, the film and its director Cesare Canevari are quite successful.

Alas, Canevari doesn't seem to be too interested in making the sex interesting, either. Most of the many, many trysts consist of incredibly bored looking people rubbing the naked bodies of other bored looking people while the camera looks on, equally bored. It's quite an achievement to make this much naked flesh this unappealing and uninteresting, but I'm not so sure it is an achievement Canevari was actually going for.

From time to time, the director reveals that he'd be able to make quite a different film out of this material, a surreal series of decadent set pieces that would quite naturally climax in murder (oh, those idle rich!), but for each disco psych-out or significant lingering on a woman's sleeping face there are a dozen uninspired sex scenes that are about as stimulating as watching trains go by.


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