Thursday, 24 May 2018

La Liceale nella Classe dei Ripetenti (3 Stars)

This is the second film in the Italian Liceale ("high school") series. I don't speak Italian, but the title means something like "The High School Class for Repeaters". In many European countries, including Germany, children need to score a sufficient grade to advance to the next class. If they don't succeed they have to repeat a school year. In theory a child can repeat a class indefinitely into adulthood, but in practice he will leave school when he reaches school leaving age.

I watched both "La Liceale" and "La Liceale 2" (as I prefer to call it) in German cinemas more than 30 years ago. They were given the imaginative titles "Flotte Teens mit hei├čen Jeans" ("Saucy Teens in Hot Jeans") and "Flotte Teens jetzt ohne Jeans" ("Saucy Teens without Jeans"), leading the films to be called the Hot Jeans series. That was silly, because we never see any jeans in the first two films. I enjoyed the first film a lot. I remember walking out of the second film feeling disappointed. I didn't bother going to the cinema to see the following films in the series. Years later I bought the third film in the series on DVD, but I don't intend to watch it again. It's awful.

This second film isn't awful, but it isn't particularly good either. It's a slapstick comedy about children in one of the last classes of high school (17 or older) playing pranks on their teachers. There's nothing of the coming-of-age drama that made the first film a masterpiece. Gloria Guida returns, but she's not playing the same character. In "La Liceale" she was Loredana, in "La Liceale 2" she's Angela. Rodolfo Bigotti played an American boy called Billy in the first film, but in the second film he's an Italian boy called Carlo. The German distributors in their unfathomable wisdom decided to change the names back to Loredana and Billy, in both the dubbing and the subtitles. I watched the subtitled German version today, and it was annoying. Whenever anyone said Angela's name it was subtitled as Loredana, while Carlo's name was subtitled as Billy.

The Italians are proud of the Liceale films as if they're a pinnacle of Italian comedy. If this is the best they have to be proud of I feel sorry for them. The first film was brilliant, I'll admit that. The rest are average to poor.

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