The French Governess
Release Year: 1976
Cast: Claudine Beccarie, Leonora Fani, Sofia Dionisio, Walter Romagnoli, Rosemarie Lindt, Didier Faya, Jacques Stany, Gabriella D’Amico, Emilio Roy, Domenico Trogu
Video language: Italian
I always thought the very pretty, and certainly not untalented, Italian actress Leanora Fani should have begun her career about five or ten years earlier. She perhaps could have found international stardom like Ornella Muti, or at least enjoyed the solid career in Italian genre cinema of someone like Jenny Tamburi. But instead she started out in the mid to late 70’s when a definite pall of sleaze had begun to settle over the Italian film industry. Thus, her most well-known film is probably “Giallo in Venice”, one the most unpleasant, scum-soaked films to ever come out of Italy. She was also one of naked massacre-ees in “Naked Massacre”, a well-made international film, but also one that REALLY lives up to it’s title. Despite its very porn-sounding title, this film here is actually one of Fani’s better performances–and one that doesn’t involve any ridiculously long, gratuitous masturbation scenes or forced lesbianism at gun point (all the lesbianism here is strictly voluntary).
Fani plays “Francesca”, an older teenage girl with severe hang-ups about sex as the result of not only seeing her parents engaged in rough, non-consensual sex, but also seeing her father drop dead of a heart attack during the encounter! Her young-looking mother (Rosemary Lindt) seems considerably less traumatized and continues rolling in the hay with various men. “Francesca” also has a frustrated would-be boyfriend and a bosom–and very bosomy–friend (Sofia Dionisio, sister of Silvia and one-time sister-in-law of Ruggiero “Cannibal Holocaust” Deodato), who she likes to take long, hot baths with, but has to share with a guy in a kind of bisexual love triangle. The real drama starts, however, when a young French teacher (Claudia Beccarie) comes to stay at the family villa and “Francesca” and the older woman develop an obsessive and decidedly unhealthy relationship.
This movie was filmed both in “soft” and “hard” versions, and the latter is famous today for being one of the first hardcore porn films in Italy. But a lot of “soft” Italian sex films at that time had hardcore sex “inserts” spliced into them when sold in more liberal markets–the only thing different here was that these inserts apparently featured one of original talent, Claudia Beccarie, a big porn star at the time in France. Generally, I prefer the 70’s European style of having anonymous hardcore types do the “inserts”, and leaving the acting to those that can actually do it, but Beccarie is not bad here surprisingly. I saw the “soft” version (the “hard” version, believe it or not, is a very rare collector’s item), but even that had plentiful nudity by Fani, Beccarie, Lindt, and Dionisio, so I’m not complaining on that count. The real negative is the ending, which I think even someone fluent in Italian would find confounding. Fani’s strong performance and Beccarie’s adequate performance ultimately come to naught in this bizarre ending. But up until then it’s kind of an interesting film.
File size: 928.2 MB
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