Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 29th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Fernando Di Leo
Writer: Fernando Di Leo
Cast: Gloria Guida, Lilli Carati, Ray Lovelock, Vincenzo Crocitti, Giorgio Bracardi, Leopoldo Mastelloni, Roberto Reale, Serena Bennato, Daniele Vargas, Vittorio Caprioli, Licinia Lentini, Daniela Doria, Raul Lovecchio, Fernando Cerulli
DVD released: August 16th, 2011
Approximate running time: 98 minutes (Director’s Cut), 84 minutes (Theatrical Version)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian (Director’s Cut), Dolby Digital Mono English (Theatrical Version)
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
When To Be Twenty was original released the film was severely censored, with the most notable cuts being the opening sequence on a beach, Gloria Guida (Monika) and Lilli Carati’s (The Alcove) lesbian tryst and the film’s notorious ending. For this release Raro Video has included this much shorter version, as well as Fernando Di Leo preferred cut of the film.
In the latter half of the 1970’s sexually themed comedies were among the most successful films immerging out of Italy. Two of the more prominent stars from this genre were Gloria Guida and Lilli Carati, the stars of To Be Twenty. And while the film’s opening set up leads one to believe that what is about to unfold, is just more of what we have come to expect from the type of films these two actresses are most known for. The end result is something so far removed from where they had been or have returned to as actresses.
And while Italian cinema is known for often pushing the boundaries, when it comes to violence or even taboo subjects. It is safe to say that there are not too many films that go for the jugular in the way in which To be Twenty does. In fact one would be hard pressed to find another film, not just in Italian cinema or even cinema from anywhere in the world that shifts as drastically in tone as To Be Twenty does in its final moments. The closest comparison to this shift that I can think of would be the way in which Takashi Miike concludes of The Audition.
When discussing To Be Twenty one must not overlook or under appreciate the performances of its two leading ladies, Gloria Guida and Lilli Carati, who are not given that much to work with beneath the surface. The bulk of their performances is based on their physical appearances and yet the somehow manage to make what should have been characters that are easy to dismiss, somehow sympathetic. So that when their demise finally arrives, it is arguably one of the most grueling sequences to ever grace the silver screen.
Raro Video presents both versions of the film in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Quality wise both transfers are comparable to each other and appear to have come from similar sources. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels and contrast levels look consistently good throughout. Details look crisp and there are no problems with compression.
Each version of the film included with this release comes with one audio option, the director’s cut is presented in Italian with English subtitles and theatrical version is presented in a English. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras on disc one include a ‘Making of’ documentary titled ‘Twenty Years for a Massacre’ (29 minutes 49 minutes – 4:3 full frame / letterboxed widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), that includes comments from screenwriter / director Fernando Di Leo, actors Ray Lovelock, Leopoldo Mastelloni, Giorgio Bracardi and producer Gianluca Curti. This is well rounded documentary that covers all the major areas of this production like the cast, the controversial ending and the various cut made to the director’s original vision due to censorship.
Extras on disc two include a photo gallery and a filmography and bio for Fernando Di Leo.
Also included with this release is slip cover that has different image, then the one used for the front cover art on the DVD and a eight page booklet with liner notes about the film that were written by Nathaniel Thompson, author of DVD Delirium and a bio for Fernando Di Leo. Overall To Be Twenty gets a strong release from Raro Video.