Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 15th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Alberto Lattuada
Writers: Paolo Cavara, Enrico Oldoini , Alberto Lattuada
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Nastassja Kinski, Francisco Rabal, Mónica Randall, Ania Pieroni, Barbara De Rossi
BluRay released: May 12th, 2015
Approximate running time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Stay as You Are was co-written and directed by Alberto Lattuada whose other notable films include, Variety Lights, The Overcoat, Love in the City (segment ‘Italiani si voltano, Gli’), Mafioso and Come Have Coffee with Us. Key collaborators on Stay as You Are include cinematographer José Luis Alcaine (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Passion), screenwriter Paolo Cavara (Black Belly of the Tarantula, Plot of Fear) and composer Ennio Morricone.
Besides dealing with infidelity of its protagonist, this film also delves into a variety other subject matters like abandonment, sex without attachment and the taboo subject matter of incest even works its way into the story at hand.
From a narrative stand point this film jumps in head first as it quickly becomes apparent that there is an undeniable sexual spark between the protagonist and his much younger lover. With that being said, there is a clever twist early on where the film leads you to believe that things are going to end up going one way and in the end the protagonists is left all alone, because of a game of cat and mouse that his lover decides to play with him. Fortunately for him she does not stay away for too long and their most unusual lover affair starts to blossom.
As mentioned before one main theme that runs throughout this film and that is confliction. At the first the protagonist feels conflicted that he has to step out on his wife to get the affection he can’t get from her. And later on a friend of his drops the bombshell that his new lover is the daughter of a woman he was once in a relationship twenty years before and that she may also be his daughter.
In regards to the sexuality depicted onscreen, Mastroianni and Kinski approach their respective roles without inhibition. And when it comes to visual depiction of these moments of intimacy director Alberto Lattuada film’s them in an artful way that further accentuates the beauty of his leading lady. With the scene where they are at a hotel after a night out disco dancing being this film’s most memorable sequences.
Without a doubt this film greatest strength are its two leads, Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita, 8 ½) in the role of Guillo a middle-aged philanderer and Nastassja Kinski (Tess, Cat People) in the role of Francesca his promiscuous youthful lover. And when it comes to acting Mastroianni proves once again why he is in a class all of his own as he time and again is willing to fully expose himself to get to the essence of the character he is portraying. Then there is Nastassja Kinski’s mesmerizing performance which far exceeds her experience as an actress. Another performance of note is Ania Pieroni (Inferno, Tenebre) in the role of Cecelia, she is Francesca’s equally flirtatious roommate.
Stay as You Are comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. With the size of the main feature file being 18.9 GB.
This is a film that has been difficult to since its theatrical release and outside of a German home video release from a few years ago, there have not been any other authorized home video releases for this film. This then brings us to this release from Cult Epics which was sourced from the only known film elements to exit. This print is also the source that was used for that aforementioned German home video release which included a DVD and a Blu-Ray release.
So how does the transfer look? There is color fluctuation, black levels are at best adequate and details when not a close up tend to look soft. Also there are issues with compression artifacts and edge enhancement.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in Italian and a LPCM mono mix in English. Though the English audio mix sounds slightly fuller of these two audio mixes. This audio mix does exhibit some mild instances of background noise that varies in degree throughout. Dialog comes through clearly on both audio mixes with the Italian mix being the stronger of the two since its features Mastroianni and Kinski’s actual voices. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles. It should be noted that the subtitles have a handful of spelling errors.
Extras for this release include a English language trailer for film (6 minutes 37 seconds) and an option to listen to films entire score (19 tracks). Other extras include a trailer for Black Angel and a slip case cover that has different cover art then the more provocative cover art included within the Blu-Ray keep case.
Note: This film is also being released by Cult Epics on DVD.