Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 11th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 2000 (Cheeky!), Italy, 2002 (Black Angel), Italy, 2003 (Private), Italy 2005 (Monamour)
Director: Tinto Brass (All Films)
Writers: Tinto Brass, Carla Cipriani, Nicolaj Pennestri, Silvia Rossi, Massimiliano Zanin (Cheeky!), Tinto Brass, Camillo Boito (Black Angel), Tinto Brass, Carla Cipriani, Massimiliano Zanin (Private), Tinto Brass, Carla Cipriani, Massimiliano Zanin (Monamour)
Cast: Yuliya Mayarchuk, Jarno Berardi, Francesca Nunzi, Max Parodiodi (Cheeky!), Anna Galiena, Gabriel Garko, Franco Branciaroli, Antonio Salines, Simona Borioni, Loredana Cannata, Erika Savastani (Black Angel), Sara Cosmi, Massimiliano Caroletti, Silvia Rossi, Federica Tommasi, Max Parodi, Andrea Nobili, Raffaella Ponzo, Angela Ferlaino, Daniele Ferrari, Maruska Albertazzi, Riccardo Marino, Federica Palmer, Roberto Giulianelli (Private), Anna Jimskaia, Nela Lucic, Riccardo Marino, Max Parodi (Monamour)
BluRay released: August 12th, 2012
Approximate running times: 91 minutes (Cheeky!), 128 minutes (Black Angel), 89 minutes (Private), 98 minutes (Monamour)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Cheeky! / Black Angel / Private), 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Monamour)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo English (Cheeky!), Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo Italian (Black Angel), Dolby Digital Stereo Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo English (Private), Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo English (Monamour)
Subtitles: English (All Films)
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $69.95
Cheeky! Carla (Yuliya Mayarchuk) goes to London for a four-week internship. Her boyfriend Matteo is the jealous type and he is going to join her at a later time in London. Carla shortly after her arrival in London has several suitors’ men and women who want her affection. Will Carla be able to remain faithful or will she crumble to her desires before Matteo arrives?
Tinto Brass original started his career directing art house films before shifting into erotic cinema in the 1970’s. His films have always been soft core romps that come close but never cross the line into full blown hard core sex films. A lot has changed in the thirty plus years Brass has been directing these types of films as the soft-core market has all but dried up except for maybe cable TV with the focus going towards making hardcore films. There are almost too many hardcore films being produce and might I add poorly being directed by talent less hacks who have no idea how to direct erotic scenes without ever being vulgar. Tinto Brass is the last of dying bread as his film are not only beautifully photographed they are also some of the most sensual images ever committed to celluloid.
Trasgredire also, known as Cheeky! is a film about a temptress named Carla. The film opens with a scene where a man flashes his penis at Carla as she walks through the park. No fazed or bashful in the least Carla shows him her privates before turning around and flashing him her ass. This scene quickly establishes the Carla character as a sexual being that obsesses over sex. Brass also fleshes out the rest of the main character like Carla’s boyfriend Matteo and her lesbian lover Moira. This film also marks the first-time Tinto Brass fully explored in any of his films a lesbian relationship between two main characters.
Two stand out scenes in the film are one when Clara and Moira are at a party and when they arrive they are several women with their asses in the air bent over a couch as men walk by choose which one they want. Brass truly knows the beauty of woman’s ass as he captures this moment in a breath taking tracking shot. The other stand out moment is when Clara is having a playful romp of the beach with a former French lover. This scene is actually told as a flashback; still it is by the far the most erotic moment in the film.
Pino Donaggio supplies a playful score that is just so damn catchy the motifs will stay with you for days. The film also boasts some lavish sets and locations that really open up this film. Every composition is artfully done by Brass who uses every inch of the frame. Brass proves with Cheeky! that his still has the Midas touch as he creates another erotic masterpiece.
Black Angel: The wife of a prominent member of Fascist party begins a torrid affair with a manipulate German lieutenant.
Key collaborators on Black Angel include cinematographers Daniele Nannuzzi (Santa Sangre) and Massimo Di Venanzo (All Ladies Do It, Cheeky!) and yet another exceptional score from composer Ennio Morricone who had previously worked with Brass on the film The Key.
Though Black Angel is based on Camillo Boito’s novel Senso, the same source novel that Luchino Visconti sourced for his 1954 film also tilted Senso. They are hardly mirror images of each other. With that being said, there are more than a few differences in regards to these two films adaption’s then the eras from which they are sent in. Most notably how Brass’s film delves deeper into politics and of course oozing over with explicit sexuality that has all but become synonymous with his cinema legacy.
Narrative wise Brass has employed an interesting way to divulge what is occurring onscreen. Periodically throughout the film there are black and white sequences which alternate with the predominately color sequences. And it is precisely these black and white moments that make give this film its durable backbone. Also, the black and white sequences are set in the present, while the color sequences are all memories from the protagonists’ torrid past. To further accentuate the differences between these two narratives the majority of the decadent behavior takes place in ‘living’ color, while the more dramatic moments that ultimately decide ones fate take place in glorious black and white.
As mentioned before all of the hallmarks that one would expect from a Brass film are all on display in Black Angel and as usual Brass creates many extraordinary compositions throughout. One of this film’s most memorable moments is a orgy party sequence where the protagonist is hanging out with her Nazi lover and his cohorts. This sexually charged moment of debauchery at times has an almost Federico Fellini feel to it.
When it comes to casting Brass films are known more for their voluptuous leading ladies. To my surprise that is not the case with Black Angel which has arguably the best cast that Brass ever had the chance to work with. The entire cast all very good in their respective roles, especially this film’s two main characters Anna Galiena (Nothing Underneath) in the role of a bored housewife named Livia Mazzoni and Gabriel Garko in the role of her lover a Nazi lieutenant named Helmut Schultz. The scenes they are in are filled with a tremendous amount of heat. One more moment of praise for this film’s leading lady Anna Galiena who does not rely heavily on her natural assets as previous Brass leading ladies. In fact, she dominates all the more dramatic moments in the film. Ultimately Black Angel is Brass’s most satisfying mix of erotica and melodrama to date.
Private is a collection of six tales in which couples share with their affairs? The first story titled Alibi is about a couple who are celebrating their seven-year wedding anniversary in Morocco. The wife one morning tells her husband about her last visit which in turn makes him aroused by the thought of other men touching and sleeping with his wife. The husband asks the bell boy who he caught watching his wife is he would like to sleep with his wife and of course we all know his answer. The second story titled Double Trouble is about a pair of spouses who are sleeping with each other spouses. The third story titled Two hearts and a Hut is about a German couple with weird sexual fetishes who pay the hotel’s maid generous amounts of money to be their plaything. The maid convinces her boyfriend that she was doing it all for him and that with the money they made they can open up their own bed and breakfast.
The fourth story titled Jolly Bangs takes place on a beach where a wife tells her husbands about her past affairs which only make him hornier. The fifth story titled Evil to Him who thinks Evil is about a couple who are engaged to be married. He wants to have anal sex with his fiancé who wants to wait until they are married. Also, she is afraid of having his extremely large penis in her ass. They are invited to a party with another couple who are swingers and one thing leads to another the fiancé lets the other man do her in the ass. The sixth story titled Call Me a Pig I like It is about a couple who is being watched while having sex by a next-door neighbor.
Private is an uneven film that suffers mostly due to the various segments being either too short or not that well fleshed out. Tinto Brass’ direction is nearly flawless as it is mind blowing just how many ways he can frame the female enmity especially the ass. Private has a lot of scenes in which ladies give their male lovers oral sex. All but one of these scenes oddly enough involves the use of prosthetic penises. The characters in the film all come off stuck up which at times classes with the films dark humor.
The first and last stories both end with amusing climaxes. The weakest story is Two hearts and a Hut which is nothing more than several random sequences related to bondage. The films off beat score ads to the films eclectic mix of stories. Overall Private doesn’t quite work despite following the Tinto Brass formula, still it is not without its own merits as brief moments of Tinto Brass’ brilliance is scattered throughout the film.
Over the last four decades Tinto Brass has steadily cranked out some of the best erotica themed films. With his masterpiece of erotica cinema being The Key. Content wise, he rarely ventures away from his bread butter, beautiful women, their ass’s and voyeuristic approach to his visuals.
Plot wise, this is not one of Tinto Brass’s stronger efforts. As the story retreads, subject matter that he has explored in his previous films. The vapid plot is not helped by the one-dimensional characters which populate this story. Just about the only thing surprising about this film, is its ending.
At least visually this film’s tries to keep things interesting. With the stand out moments visually being a scene where the film’s main character Marta, the woman having an affair and her friend at a health spa. Another stand out moment being a scene where Marta dances seductively for and making love to her lover in front of a crowd of onlookers. The most interesting moment visually, is a bizarre dream sequence that has an over exposed look to it.
The sex scenes, which feature a slew of rubber penis’s. Tend to be raunchier than what one would expect from a Tinto Brass. Performance wise none of the cast leave a lasting impression and they are at best adequate. Ultimately outside of a few memorable moments, Monamour is an underwhelming experience that feels all too familiar.
Cheeky!, Private and Monamour have all been previously released on Blu-Ray by Cult Epics and these are the exact discs from those previous releases repackaged for this box set release. For more information on the Blu-Ray releases for Cheeky!, Private and Monamour ;click on each title. Black Angel makes its Blu-ray debut here in this collection and it is also available as a standalone Blu-Ray release.
Black Angel comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and details look sharp, black and contrast levels look great throughout. It also said black levels that this release shows the most improvement over Cult Epics previous release for this film. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression. Overall another strong transfer from Cult Epics.
Black Angel comes with these audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Italian. The differences between the two are is minimal with the 5.1 mix having a slightly fuller sound. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear, balanced and robust when they need too. The more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and the film’s score sounds appropriately full. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
All of the extra content from Cult Epics DVD release has been carried over for this release and it is as follows, a trailer for the film (1 minute 26 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), a photo gallery which has music from the film playing in the background, a promo reel for the film (8 minutes 7 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), an option to listen to Ennio Morricone’s complete score for the film and a ‘Making of’ featurette (25 minutes 25 seconds – 1080 progressive 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in Italian with English subtitles) that includes plenty of onset footage and comments from director Tinto Brass and the cast.
Included exclusively for this release is a fifth disc (a DVD) that contains a documentary titled ‘Tinto Brass Maesto of Erotica Cinema’ (95 minutes 8 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English). This is essentially a lengthy interview with Tinto Brass who discusses the majority of his films and there are also clips from most of these films included in this documentary. Other topics include filmmakers who influenced him, cinematography, censorship, his cinematic obsessions most notably women’s asses and his thoughts on several actress he has worked with, feminists and what film he has directed that he likes the most?
Rounding out the extras is a forty page booklet with an interview with Tinto Brass and his complete filmography cast & crew listings, alternate titles, running times and synopsis for every film. Also this booklet is illustrated with rare stills and promotional materials. Overall four of Tinto Brass’s latter works gets an exceptional box set release from Cult Epics, highly recommended.
Note: Screenshots #1, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 are from Black Angel. Screenshots # 2 and 3 are from Cheeky! Screenshots 6 and 7 are from Private. Screenshots 8 and 9 are from Monamour.