Wednesday, April 13, 2011

La Schiava Io Ce L'Ho e Tu No

I believe this will be the first time I've written about anything from my collection of Italian sex-comedies, but I was recently discussing it somewhere else, had already made screencaps, and I'm pretty sure almost no one else on the internet is talking about this film (especially not in English), so it seemed like as good a place as any to start.

As with many of these rare foreign things, subtitles are often hard to find, or just completely unavailable altogether... The latter was the case for me here, so I had to understand things via Google Translate's interpretation of the Italian Wikipedia page and my somewhat limited knowledge of Spanish.

In any case, I think I've shown that I'm EXACTLY the right person to discuss this movie, so let's get started.

La Schiava Io Ce L'Ho e Tu No is a film directed by Giorgio Capitani that was released in 1972. The plot is pretty simple up until the strange left turn that is the movie's namesake. After that, things get weird.

Demetrius Cultrera (Lando Buzzanca) is a young, rich, Sicilian bachelor who becomes engaged to the beautiful (and also rich) Rosalba (Catherine Spaak), the daughter of a local business owner.

After their wedding, Rosalba's attitude changes when she decides to try turning Demetrius into the modern sort of husband she'd like. This causes a problem, as Demetrius prefers sticking to what he sees as more traditional gender roles. Despite her constant attempts, Rosalba's persistent attempts to convert him to the rituals of high society, and to her "enlightened" and/or feminine tastes do little more than annoy him.

Strongly determined to build a stable relationship with a woman who can fulfill his visions of peaceful married life, he leaves for the Amazon, where he is offered the opportunity to choose and buy a new wife as a slave.

The choice falls on the beautiful and docile Manua (Veronica Merin).

He takes her back to Italy, then starts working to clean her up and train her to act as the kind of subservient wife he was looking for.

Finally he takes her to get her hair straightened, revealing that the Amazonian native actually looks like a brown Shannon Elizabeth.

Once all that's done. He starts taking her out to proudly show off his creation to friends...

and also to use her for manual labor.

Even when he's back at home, he's constantly inviting over dinner guests to witness his ideal wife. By this time the two actually seem to have a little chemistry between them, but that doesn't mean she's graduated to sitting at the same level as the men just yet.

It does earn her several head-pats though.

Once he's impressed and inspired all of his own friends. He takes her out to parade her past his ex-wife to try making her jealous. This is of course done by hooking her up to a rickshaw and having her pull him around the city until he finds Rosalba.

He finds her soon enough, and seems satisfied, but the ex-wife ends up only looking mildly intrigued and confused.

Things wrap up quickly after that, and the film cuts to a closing scene showing us the couple many years in the future. The new wife is now adept at making Demetrius drinks, lighting his cigarettes, and giving him massages. Surely she's graduated to chair sitting by now...

Not quite, but at least he's still petting her.

Sex comedies aren't generally written from a very feminist perspective, but this one's got to be about the most extremely and exuberantly misogynist example I've ever seen. Strangely enough, it's still strangely watchable and even enjoyable. Lando Buzzanca and Veronica Merin have an odd, inappropriate chemistry between them that always makes seeing them together pretty fun... for as long as you can ignore the weird contexts of everything they're doing.

There are only a few (uneventful) video clips of this film I've found on Youtube. Good luck figuring out what's going on in them.

1 comment:

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