Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 10th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, April 22nd, 1985
Director: Marco Bellocchio
Writers: Marco Bellocchio, Ennio De Concini, Enrico Palandri
Cast: Maruschka Detmers, Federico Pitzalis, Anita Laurenzi, Alberto Di Stasio, Riccardo De Torrebruna
DVD released: August 30th, 2005
Approximate running time: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: When class is interrupted one day because a young woman on the building next to the school is threatening to jump Andrea (Federico Pitzalis) catches a glance of another woman named Giulia (Maruschka Detmers) who is also watching this drama unfold. He instantly becomes infatuated with Giulia as he ends up following her to the courthouse were she goes each day to see her husband Giacomo Pulcini who is on trail for acts of terrorism. Andrea continues to watch her in the courthouse form afar until one day when Giulia approaches him and the two quickly bond. What starts off innocent enough turns into a full blown affair in which the two lovers are forced to hide their relationship from everyone for fear that her husband may find out.
Devil in The Fleshis based the novel “Le Diable Au Corps” written by Raymond Radiguet and before Marco Bellocchio 1985 cinematic adaptation this novel’s source material had been made into a movie once before in Claude Autant-Lara 1946’s film which was also named Devil in The Flesh. Marco Bellocchio’s direction in Devil in the Flesh is near perfectly as his lyrical compositions dance lightly around Carlo Crivelli’s strings driven score that is a moving and powerful as Bernard Herrmann masterful score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. There is a dream like quality to the films narrative structure that lends well to some of the films more surreal images.
There are three man themes that drive this film loneliness, infidelity, and obsession. Giulia is uncertain about the future of her and husband Giacomo who she is only able to see locked din a cage from afar. In walks in Andrea who has never been in love and his initial infatuation leads to the infidelity that ultimately become the two lovers obsessions as they are now unable to function without each other. Federico Pitzalis who portrayed the character of Andrea stars in his one and only film appearance. Overall he has an incredible presence considering his lack of experience and there is a naivety about his character that is also most likely a product of his inexperience as an actor. Maruschka Detmers portrayal of the depraved wife who seeks out a new lover is simply amazing. Through out the films it is difficult not to be drawn to her in every scene that she appears in as she oozes with an almost primal sexuality that will make your blood rise. Once Giulia and Andrea’s forbidden love is exposed they start to let their jealously get in the way of their relationship as they start to doubt each others motives. One scene that will be an eye opener for most viewers in when Andrea is sitting on a bed and Giulia gives him a blow job. There is no simulated sex going the two actors are really in the moment. Ultimately Devil in The Flesh is a film that is rich in subtext and it is filled with some wonderful performances.
No Shame presents Devil in The Flesh in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This high definition transfer has been sourced and re-mastered from the original vault negative. Devil in The Flesh is in its original aspect ratio and uncut for the first ever on DVD.
Details look defined as black levels remain strong through out. Flesh tones look healthy and grain is kept to a minimum. The colors look evenly saturated and robust through out. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement. The source used for this transfer is in exceptional shape as it is virtually free or any nicks or debris. There are also no noticeable problems with burying or ghosting of the image during playback. This DVD transfer is interlaced.
This DVD comes with one audio option the films original Italian language track. The music and effects sound evenly mixed with no problems of distortion. The action sounds robust and dialog is crisp as it is always easy to understand. Overall for a mono mixed this audio track packs a lot of punch. English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow and understand.
Not only have No Shame gone to great lengths to restore the audio/video portion of this release that have when the extra mile and then some with the wealth of extras included for this DVD. Extras for this release include the films original theatrical trailer and a poster & a brief still gallery that plays music from the film in the background. Other extras include a collectible booklet that includes liner notes written by Richard Harland Smith, “A Brief Chronicle of the Armed Struggle in Italy in the Sixties and Seventies” written by Allessandro Marenga and a bio for director Marco Bellocchio written by Giona A. Nazzaro. Each of the three pieces included in the collectible booklet are well written with Allessandro Marenga being the most fascinating and thought provoking of the three. Also included on this DVD is a documentary titled “Stolen Years, Hidden Lives” in which former real life Red Brigaders Adrianna Faranda and Maria Nanni discuss their past and home some of the events in the film are based on actually events. Rounding out the extras is a twenty seven minute interview titled “Bellocchio’s Flesh” in which director Marco Bellocchio who is often candid about the difficulties making this film and his thoughts on how he feels about it today. There are some minor instances of distorted sound that occur during the interview with Marco Bellocchio.
No Shame continues to crank out high end product and definitive DVD editions at a very affordable price. Overall Devil in Her Flesh is a sexually charged drama that gets under your skin and stays there long after the films final frames have faded off into the sunset, Highly Recommended.