DVD Review: Tinto Brass' MONAMOUR

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DVD Review: Tinto Brass' MONAMOUR
Many of the old guard Euro erotica filmmakers are either deceased or inactive, but Tinto Brass is still kicking out the filth. He is supposedly working on a 3D version of Caligula. Depending on your perspective, this is either a very good thing or an absolutely horrid thing. I lean on the side of this being a good thing, especially in light some of Tinto Brass' recent output. For example, consider his 2005 film Monamour, which was recently released on DVD by Cult Epics. This low-budget soft-core nugget is certainly flawed. It is also salaciously entertaining and shows the director's unique flair for portraying the female form.

A perpetually horny woman named Marta (Anna Jimskaia) is married to a wet noodle who just can't satisfy her. While admiring erect body parts on the frescoes in a museum in Mantua, she is mauled by a stranger. Although she resists, she is obviously curious. Marta later runs into the stranger at a party and begins an affair with him. She spends the rest of the film coupling with the strange Frenchman, angering her husband, and fantasizing about random sexual encounters.

Mon Amour has little narrative heft and the characters are defined solely by their interest in sex. The whole thing, including the hilarious dog-in-heat dialogue, is designed to stimulate and entertain. Logic is purposely thrown out the window in favor of an absurdist fantastical approach that uses the main character's sex drive to carry it from scene to scene. As is usually the case, Brass anchors the film around an intimidatingly endowed woman. In this instance, the subject is Anna Jimskaia, a statuesque blonde whose ribald fearlessness locks this movie in place. Jimskaia spends most of the film is various states of undress. Wherever she goes -- public and private toilets, clubs, restaurants, museums -- she is either completely nude or spilling out of her clothes. A scene in which she inexplicably decides to dance naked at a rooftop club is so alluring that Cult Epics put used it as a continuous loop on the DVD menu.

Like the late Russ Meyer, Tinto Brass has a neurotic obsession with female body parts: large boobs, round butts, and hirsute pubes are as important as the people to which they are attached. Mon Amour is profuse with leering ultra close-ups and anarchic zig-zagging zooms that would make Jess Franco proud. Static shots suddenly breaking into swirling zooms that eventually land on a female back side, front side or under side.

The DVD for Mon Amour, which was shot in HD, was sourced from a HD master. Given the shooting format, the transfer is on the smooth side, but the attention to lighting during the shoot ensures a generally filmic look with heavy shadows and a rich varied range of colors. The disc was compressed at a fairly bit-rate thus contributing to a virtual absence of artifacting and blocking. As far as standard-definition DVDs go, the quality on this release is pretty strong.

Mon Amour is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. A choice of English (Dolby Digital 2.0) and Italian audio (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 Digital Surround) is available as are English and Italian subtitles. Extras are limited to a slightly informative featurette about the making of Mon Amour and a few trailers for Cult Epics titles, including the upcoming Cult Epics DVD and Blu-Ray release of Radley Metzger's Score.

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Ard VijnSeptember 12, 2010 10:59 AM

Good review Rodney! Neither dismissive of the genre in general nor particularly gloating at it. I'm not "into" Tinto Brass but this was nevertheless an interesting read.

Rodney PerkinsSeptember 12, 2010 11:33 AM

I love this type of filmmaking -- Brass, Bénazéraf, Franco, Pecas, Rollin, Larraz -- but it is a specialized taste and should be judged accordingly.

Agent WaxSeptember 13, 2010 12:22 AM

Well, to be fair, Brass has always been an arse man, not so much a boob man. Arguably, the only film in his ouevre which featured 'large boobs' is Paprika. Huge, 'round butts', however, are a given in all his films.