Lady of The Night (1986)
Director: Piero Schivazappa
Cast: Serena Grandi, Alberto di Stasio
Simona (Serena Grandi) a leotard clad aerobics instructor, is bored with her marriage, and with her airplane and boxing obsessed husband Mario. Slowly Simona lowers herself into a world of dangerous sexual liaisons, mostly with unknown men. The first two liaisons she is partly taken by force, but she does not resist, as she half desired the encounter in the first place. During her third such encounter, one which she is protesting at, she is found out by her husband, who dulls the intruder’s ardor with his foot, and then beats his wife.
This leads to an inevitable break up during which he retaliates to her infidelity by screwing his part time musician neighbour. Due to Simona’s bad/good timing she finds out about this, and hereafter refuses to return to her married life, after her husband’s persistence for her to do so.
Simona decides that what she needs to cure her of her potentially dangerous desires is a child. She makes a visit to a gynecologist (Robert from Lamberto Bava’s gooey necrophiliac grotesquerie, Macabre/Frozen Terror/Macabro, 1980) whom has already lain his seed at her altar. She has her IUD removed and endeavors to get pregnant as quickly as possible.
Simona never has full control overhear liaisons, which means anyone of her lovers could go further than she would like, or had fantasized about. But she is willing to take this risk.
Soon after this Simona is subjected to a 100% unwanted sexual assault, after which she finds out who therapist was, and decides to turn her back on her licentious distractions and return to her former life.
Serena Grandi (for those who may not know) is the voluptuous queen of spaghetti erotica. From Tinto Brass’s fetishistic Miranda (1985) To Sergio Martino’s psycho-erotic-thriller, Craving Desire (1993), where she unfortunately played second fiddle to Vittoria Belvedere. And this where she again displays her ample charms, as she had in Miranda the year before.
The film brings to mind G.W. Pabst’s (1929) silent masterpiece Pandora’s Box, which brought the world the beautiful Louise Brooks (and the ‘bob’ hairstyle) as Lulu, though Lady Of The Night is nowhere near as good or as ground breaking as that. Pandora’s Box did the selfish, libertine woman thing nearly fifty years earlier, and still packs more punch than this. And in no way was Simona going to get a bloody ending for her sins like Lulu did. But maybe the cracks in the ground appear, as Lulu was lead to the slaughter for her crimes and Simona only raped and then decided to return to the family fold. Maybe Pandora’s Box was more a lesson in staying put than this was, and maybe even more conventional, once you get past Lulu’s libertinage that is!
The film seems like a misogynist’s wet dream, rather than a plunge into the fantasies of women. Though there are people who fantasize and participate in such anonymous sexual shenanigans, the rape fantasy theme is a little of a more dangerous area to be covering. Especially when the character turns her pretty tail and goes back from whence she came. And what is probably supposed to an anti conventional, indignation raising, and ground breaking delve into dark dangerous fantasies, turns out to be a totally conventional lesson, that Simona should have stayed where she was and been happy with what she had.
The version that was released by Angel Films, in the UK, was cut by our scissor happy censors by almost 3 minutes. Which is absolutely ludicrous considering the current climate of censorship in the UK. Where hard core sex scenes, including “money shots” were passed uncut in Lars Von Trier’s “The Idiots” (1998), and Catherine Breillat’s, UK censorship ground breaking, but boring as hell “Romance” (1999).
© Review By Giovanni Pistachio,
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