Monday, 29 June 2015

Frivolous Lola (4 Stars)

"Nothing is true when nothing is untrue".

This was the first film that I ever saw directed by Tinto Brass. I checked it out because it starred Patrick Mower, who I hadn't seen in any films for years. I knew him from the TV series "Callan" and several films from the 1960's and 1970's, but I had no idea what he was doing more recently. I was watching a Hammer Horror film, probably one of the Dracula films, I forget which, and I spotted him as an uncredited extra, not even mentioned in IMDB. A dead body was discovered on the road, and I jumped up and shouted "That's Patrick Mower!" The face was unmistakeable to a fan like me, even though it was only visible for about two seconds. I'll look for it again next time I watch the Dracula films. They're on my list. But the point of all my rambling on in this paragraph is that after spotting him in the Hammer film I decided to look for a recent film he had made, and this was it. It was made in 1998, and it's actually the last film he ever made. In 2001 he joined the cast of the TV soap "Emmerdale" as Rodney Blackstock and he's been a regular ever since, the five episodes a week leaving him no time for anything else.

Now let's get to the film itself. The original Italian name of the film is "Monella", as in the poster above. That's Monella riding the bike. For unfathomable reasons she's been renamed Lola in the English version, both the subtitled and the dubbed version, and the film is called "Frivolous Lola". She's my kind of girl. She's beautiful, she knows it and she shows it. She's constantly flirting with all men around her, revelling in the effect she has on men. She frequently flashes her bottom, for instance when she's riding a bike, and she laughs at the men who stare at her, even if its the village priest whose hands begin to shake when he's trying to read his Bible. But despite her playful attitude she's unhappy. She's still a virgin, and she desperately wants her fiancé Tomaso, the village baker, to make love to her. But he says he wants to wait until they're married. The marriage is only one week away, but that's too long for Lola/Monella. She wants sex now!

Lola's father André (Patrick Mower) is a completely different sort of man. He takes photographs of naked women, and she discovers that during the photo sessions he has sex with his models. One of his models is her mother Zaira, but there are others. She spies on the sessions, and this greatly excites her. She decides to seduce her father, because she can't wait the whole week for Tomaso. At first he refuses -- incest is a sin in strict Catholic villages, isn't it? -- but his will power is shattered when she's naked in his arms. Luckily Zaira interrupts them before anything can happen.

And yet, the seemingly good boy Tomaso is really a hypocrite. He's having regular sex with a prostitute. That's the double moral standards of Catholic communities. Men want a good girl who will remain a virgin until marriage, but they have sex with the bad girls while they're waiting.

This is a fun film. Despite the frequent nudity it's a lot less explicit than my description makes it sound. That's Tinto Brass's style: lots of naked flesh and racy themes (such as incest), but no hard sex. It's a film worth watching by people who are open-minded.

Incidentally, how many of my readers know what mutting is? Lola's beauty provokes two local priests to commit the sin of mutting. If you don't believe it's a sin, check out the Bible. The 11th Commandment makes it clear: "Thou shalt not mutt".

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