Friday, April 10, 2009

Brunello Rondi's Your Hands on My Body (1970)

Andrea (Lino Capolicchio) is a handsome young man whose mother died at a very early age. He is also a misfit that even Flannery O'Conner could love. Andrea lives in the highest point of his wealthy father's villa with his collection of homemade films, some of his new mother Mirelle (Erna Schürer) in the arms of her lover, and his photographs of Marilyn Monroe. Although Mirelle is receptive to sharing her bed with Andrea, he obsesses over her sister, Carole (Colette Descombes), who is simultaneously attracted and fearful of young Andrea. Andrea is immature and angry and the film unfolds with his emotions.
Brunello Rondi's genre directorial credits include the previous The Demon (1963) and later sleazier and exploitive titles, such as Riot in a Women's Prison (1974) and Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle (1976). Although the English title, Your Hands on My Body (1970) seems a fitting genre title, the film owes more of a debt to Italian dramatic films from before than to genre cinema. Rondi's film is shot with a very adept and heavy hand with close-ups of its actors with many a subjective shot as compliments. It's an effective style: the long shots are more dramatic when they appear and the closeness of the camera brings an intimacy to the characters. Rondi also has many credits as a writer, even an Oscar-nominated one, as co-writer of Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963). He would collaborate with Fellini on a number of films, as writer, and Rondi has more writing credits than directorial ones.Not surprisingly, Your Hands on My Body strongest points are its script and its equally strong performances. The oft-told tale of romantic self-destruction is far from new, but the characters interact in bizarre and compelling ways. The feeling of being privy to an intimate conversation appears many times for this viewer. Lino Capolicchio's performance, as Andrea, is essential to the film's success, as his performance was also instrumental to the success of Pupi Avati's masterful House With Laughing Windows (1976) and also in Antonio Bido's stellar giallo, The Blood Stained Shadow (1978). Colette Descombes gives a terrific performance and sizzles in a sweet way, as opposed to her deviously wonderful performance in Umberto Lenzi's Orgasmo (1969). Erna Schürer, as Mirelle, shines in her supporting role. Giorgio Gaslini provides a subdued complimentary score.
While this one is no means a giallo or thriller, Your Hands on My Body is terrific film making. It should be sought out by those who like their films set at medium cool.

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