Written by: Carroll Jenkins on August 3rd, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Spain / Italy, 1993
Director: Carlos Saura
Writer: Enzo Monteleone, Carlos Saura
Adpated From: Giorgio Scerbanencoa’s short story ‘Spara che ti passa’
Cast: Francesca Neri, Antonio Banderas, Eulàlia Ramon, Walter Vidarte, Coque Malla, Achero Mañas
DVD released: 2006
Approximate running time: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Aspect Ratio
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Dutch FilmWorks
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: OOP
Synopsis: A reporter becomes smitten with an Italian equestrian sharpshooter in a travelling circus currently situated in Madrid. Just as their romance becomes serious she is raped by three hooligans and disappears. Devastated by his loss he searches high and low as the police do the same looking for the murderer of three hooligans.
Adapted from a story by Giorgio Scerbanencoa, with many of his tales made into films by Italian filmmaker Fernando Di Leo.
This rape / revenge feature is actually first and foremost a romantic drama. The first act is highly reminiscent of Todd Browning’s Freaks, and even features an engagement dinner where Marcos meets the circus folk. They don’t exactly sing ‘gooble gobble one of us’, but a midget lady does express similar sentiment. Francesca Neri is quite believable as Anna, and even though Annie Oakley is not mentioned, Buffalo Bill is.
Unlike many similar features (I Spit On Your Grave, Naked Vengeance) the rape itself is just a plot point that has to be gotten past and is not dwelled upon unnecessarily; it’s over in 3 1/2 minutes and implied more than shown. Desolated and internally injured from the assault, Anna no longer sees any hope or future in life, and acts according to this new world view. Antonio Banderas (Love Of Desire) is her faithful lover who continues his desperate search no matter what.
This is a full screen presentation that looks nice, but the OAR should be 2.35:1. Both the original Spanish language track and an optional English dub are available, but the only subtitles are in Dutch. For the best viewing experience you should find external English subtitles to augment the DVD presentation in Spanish. All available editions appear to suffer from one problem or another; either language, aspect ratio, and/or subtitles. The film is in color, though many scenes are intentionally dark and filters are often applied.
Action movie mavens may be surprised and disappointed by this rather low-key film. It plays more like The Sugarland Express than a typical action feature but as a romance it may be a bit too intense for many women viewers.