Monamour (2006) Nov 21, 2020 15:12:20 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Nov 21, 2020 15:12:20 GMT -5
Directed by: Tinto Brass
Directed by: Tinto Brass
NOTE: A special thanks to loyal friend/reader Dennis P., who kindly sent me this along with several other films to review.
Tinto Brass' Monamour opens with a beautiful shot of a painting on display in the bedroom of Marta (Anna Jimskaia) and Dario (Max Parodi) as the opening credits breathe. Finally, the camera pans down to show the couple are having sex, although Dario winds up leaving Marta visibly unfulfilled. When Dario leaves, Marta digs out her journal and proceeds on her own. We can tell this isn't the first time this has happened.
Marta heads out to visit an art gallery the same day, therein meeting Leon (Riccardo Marino), a suave Frenchman who shows instant attraction to her. Leon can't keep her hands off of her moments after meeting. The two hookup and it's some of the best love-making Marta's experienced in a blue moon. Feeling a touch guilty but still happy to oblige his forceful ways, Marta attends an erotic literature festival for which Leon is in town. Catching her in a compromising position is Sylvia (Nela Lucic), Marta's best friend, who is attending the festival with not-her-husband.
A humorous sequence involving the ladies conversing from parallel bathroom stalls has Marta realizing Sylvia has been hooking up with younger guys behind her husband's back for years. She claims it's the way she reinvigorates her own sex drive while adding an aura of jealousy to the love-making she has with her husband, who apparently enjoys the idea of his wife sleeping around. Two birds, one stone. Thus, Marta feels validated and puts the idea to the test with her husband, who gets an unshakable urge of passion when his wife returns home and seductively teases him with details he's not sure whether to believe or not — the only thing he knows is he likes it.
Monamour is silly, superfluous, but ultimately enjoyable softcore entertainment from the Italian director who has made a career capturing the backsides of women in every possible way. Early on, Brass' camera falls in love with the alluring Anna Jimskaia early. Everything from her figure to her caustic humor makes her a fiercely watchable presence. Consider an argument with her husband that ends with her storming off, but not before flashing devil horns and barking "Cuckold!" This is the wacky sense of humor — conjoined with something of a thought-provoking idea that jealousy is the key to igniting the passion missing from a relationship — that makes Monamour successful. And yes, the sex is pretty captivating as well.
Brass' movies are somewhat notorious for using latex penises as opposed to real ones. Truthfully, it adds a hint of comic effect because the prosthetics draw attention onto themselves. If you're observant, you'll notice at one point, Dario has a comically enormous erection after being turned on by hearing Marta speak of her indiscretions. As far as the viewer is concerned, never before has size mattered as intently as it does here.
The real star, however, is Anna Jimskaia despite her character Marta being bratty and unlikable. Nonetheless, you can't take your eyes off of her nor her reclamation of her sexual satisfaction. Brass also enjoys making male characters, primarily Dario, submissive to her powers. Meanwhile, Leon is such a caricature that he might as well be a figment of Marta's imagination. He's everything Dario isn't: domineering, sexually confident, controlling in the sheets. Overtime, he basically resorts to being subservient to Marta, namely in the climax, which pulsates with her extended monologue as the two enjoy breathless sex in public. She takes control, and for the first time, he is the one along for the ride while dozens of onlookers watch in amazement.
Mix in Brass' clear love for art, plush interiors, and paintings and Monamour is attractive enough visually to hold your attention. On top of its protagonist fighting for her right to enjoy passionate sex, observations of human behavior and romantic courtship are on display here, and Brass understands that it's more than just the obligatory pornography that makes softcore films pleasurable. You might take or leave the prosthetic penises, but for now, I'll say keep them.
Starring: Anna Jimskaia, Max Parodi, Riccardo Marino, and Nela Lucic. Directed by: Tinto Brass.