Thursday, 12 September 2013

Virgin Territory (4 Stars)

This film tells us what we would have seen if we had lived in 14th Century Italy: Tim Roth, the plague and horny nuns. It's the last film that was produced by Dino De Laurentiis. For some reason it has never received the appreciation it deserves. It was shown in cinemas in Europe in 2007, but in America it went straight to video. My guess is that the studio bosses thought there was too much nudity and sexual humour for prude American audiences. Those clever men in suits always know best, don't they?

The film is based on the Decameron, a book written by Giovanni Boccaccio in 1353. The Decameron itself is about 10 young people who flee from Florence to escape the plague, often called the Black Death. While they journey they spend 10 days telling stories, each person telling one story each day, leading to a collection of 100 stories. The film abandons the frame novel structure by showing the young people take part in the adventures themselves. I haven't read the Decameron myself, but according to an interview with Dino De Laurentiis he picked a small selection out of the 100 stories and mixed them to make the screenplay for the film.

The great man talking about his last film

The central character of the film is Pampinea Agusti (played by Mischa Barton), the daughter of a bankrupt nobleman in Florence. Her father arranges for her to marry a wealthy Russian count, but before the wedding can take place the father dies of the plague. The nobleman Gerbino Della Ratta (Tim Roth) has paid off her father's debts, so he claims the right to marry Pampinea instead, even though the count is already on his way to Florence for the wedding. A handsome young thief called Lorenzo is also in love with Pampinea, but thinks he has no chance with her. So it's not a love triangle, it's a love square. To complicate matters, Lorenzo wins money from Gerbino by cheating at cards, so Gerbino has sworn to kill Lorenzo.

Tim Roth, the bad boy in black

Lorenzo climbs up a tree to hide from Gerbino's men. The men ride by, but he falls out of the tree and knocks himself unconscious. Two nuns see him fall and think he is a gift that God has thrown down to them from Heaven. They take him to their convent, where Lorenzo has sex with the nuns every day. Pampinea also flees to the convent to escape from Gerbino. She falls in love with Lorenzo, but because she is dressed like a nun and her face is covered Lorenzo doesn't recognise her. And then there are many more complications when the count arrives, when other young people flee from Florence, when an artist takes a dead priest's robes to masquerade as a priest. It's a wonderful story, and all the loose ends are tied up. Eventually.

The nuns are thankful for God's gift

The girls are captured by bandits, but they insist on inspecting the guards


  1. Replies
    1. It's available on DVD from Amazon. It's in Netflix as well. According to IMDB it had a budget of $38 million. Does that make it the most expensive nunsploitation film ever? The money was well spent. I enjoyed the film, despite the generally poor reviews it's received elsewhere.


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