One of the most controversial Italians films of the 80s, DEVIL IN THE FLESH takes Raymond Radiguet?s classic novel and updates it to modern times. Dealing with the legacy of Italy?s "leaden years" and the aftermath of the... more » social struggles headed by the extreme left wing revolutionary groups, DEVIL IN THE FLESH caused a critical uproar upon it?s release due to its highly-charged political and sexually frank subject matter. Marushka Detmers (THE MAMBO KINGS) stars as Giulia, a young woman engaged to marry Giacomo, her fiancée who?s sitting behind bars because of his political activity. Restless in her appetites and inner turmoil, she meets a young student named Andrea and a passionate affair quickly ensues. But when the day arrives in which she has to face whether she wants to share her life with Giacomo or not, Giulia takes a surprising decision? Boldly directed by Marco Bellocchio (GOOD MORNING, NIGHT) and featuring superb cinematography by Giuseppe Lanci, DEVIL IN THE FLESH is a powerfully erotic film that deserves to be discovered and appreciated without preconceptions. With it?s mixing of political and sexual issues, Bellocchio retains the strength and relevancy of the classic text and makes a strong contemporary statement in favour of absolute artistic and political freedom. As controversial as films get, DEVIL IN THE FLESH remains one of the most important Italian films of our time. NoShame Films is proud to present DEVIL IN THE FLESH for the first time on DVD in its original widescreen aspect ratio, digitally re-mastered from the original negative, uncut and uncensored.« less
"Each scene is one shot, and that shot goes on and on and on, sometimes staying with the same act or lack of action. This film is pretension personified, but that's okay. Many people can't tell the difference between pretension and art. The music too is full of squeaks and squawks. In case you didn't know, that means that the music too is high art.
There is no story. Boy and girl see each other, and without preliminaries hit the sack. We see boy & girl here, there, in the sack, here, there, in the sack, etc. Occasionally we get a shot of some of the other characters.
Because of the lack of dynamics, the film is not effective, either as drama or as eroticism. Ironically, "The Summer of '42" was much more erotic even without any nudity (which would have helped).
The vaulted sex scenes are three in number, chest and shoulders, and they last about three minutes each. The much-touted fellatio scene is actually surprisingly good, more convincing than the "love" scenes.
There are also a few brief full-frontal scenes of the star, who has a gorgeous body (hence, the two star rating).
Bottom line: the only reason to see this movie is the nudity and the sex. But there are many better movies for that. So, only if you need the pretentiousness in order to permit yourself to see a sex movie should you see this. "
Cool story, shallow ending
Amateur curmudgeon | Lakewood, CO United States | 12/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I give this movie four stars because Maruschka Detmers is so cute, otherwise it would only rate a three. The story is plausible; Woman falls for a younger guy while her fiancee is in jail. The sex scenes are hot, and indeed, one is actually explicit. However the end is lacking. It leaves you with the question: Is that all? It is worth watching, at least once"
A surprisingly touching coming of age film
Amateur curmudgeon | 01/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame this is not available on video because this is actually one of the better rites of passage movies involving a young student and older woman. Usually the stuff of dreck, this movie has a terrific performance by Maruschka Detmers as a mercurial soon-to-be bride who falls in love(?) with a student. She is a real presence and raises this film to "gentle fable" status. Please come back to availability status soon."
O.K... Am I the only one who got it?
Scott Crozier | Fremont, California USA | 06/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a film about the power of erotic love. He's young and naive and doesn't care how hopeless and destructive his affair with this older woman might be. She's older and fully aware of the danger, but not totally at the helm of her own ship; given to bouts of melancholy and psychosis.
Check out the film's last scene: He's there being examined by his professors, and she's there watching him in a growing state of emotion. Watch the expressions on her face (God, what a performance!) and you'll see that she realizes just how much she'll lose by falling in love with this young man but, simulataneously, just how powerless she is to resist the passion, love, lust, self-destruction. I love this film.
"Media" and Antigone
R. J. Maxwell | Deming, NM | 03/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bellocchio refers to this as a mainly political movie, a description of the revolutionary movement in Italy, but that seems more metaphor than reality. Well, almost everything in the movie seems like metaphor. The revolutionaries, of whom we see and about whom we learn very little, might as well be mafiosi. Out with the old and in with the new.
Andrea's Papa, a psychoanalyst, seems to stand for the usual traditional bourgeois values -- morally upright, unperturbed, clean and tidy, thoroughly ritualized.
Giullia, the girlfriend of a revolutionary, seems to represent what can happen to someone who needs very badly a cause to support but is unable to muster up the kind of devotion such a commitment demands. (I'm guessing here.) Andrea, the adolescent boy, seems to be the only guy in the movie who is not in some unquiet way "upatz." He's respectful of his father but disobedient too. He loves Giullia, or so we assume, although he's not really old enough to have learned how to manage his reflexes optimally, but he leaves her in order to show up at school and complete his final exams. His course between these contradictory lifestyles could be described as "media." He's the man in between, who knows the meaning of gradualism, who can keep his cool while those about him are screaming.
Most of this is summed up during the oral part of his finals when he is asked to translate and comment on an excerpt from "Antigone," which contrasts the traditional authority of the gods with the notion of secularity and free will.
That brings us -- by no particular course that I'm aware of -- to Marushka Detmars. She brings to mind a New Yorker cartoon of a few years ago. Two hippos are neck-deep in the river, staring at a gazelle drinking from the bank, and one hippo says to the other, "I hate her." She's a good actress. (Let me get that out of the way.) But so is everyone else in the film. She carries with her, in her speech and manner, the rich glitter of outright lunacy. And it all comes from the actress too, not from directorial aid. Detmars isn't nuts the way Catherine DeNeuve was nuts in "Repulsion." The walls don't turn to rubber and grow hands. Instead, we see her animated -- sometimes TOO animated. And she gives us shocking jolts when her mood abruptly changes and becomes threatening the way a looming thunderstorm crackles with lightning.
A critic described her as sultry, but that's probably not the word he was searching for. She's compellingly beautiful with her fluffy brown hair, her wide white ready grin, her impulsive giggles. And her eyes are like the eyes in the paintings on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs. The sexy parts are pretty erotic, not so much because one of them is explicit, but because we've gotten to know the characters involved. (It's more interesting to spy on the honeymoon couple next door than go to a skin flick.) Actually there isn't THAT much sex. There is only one scene of simulated intercourse but the director lets it play out in what seems to be real time. At least real time for an eighteen-year-old boy.
The young man who plays Andrea is fine too, which is a necessary thing, because the film depends almost entirely on him and Giullia. They have to carry it and they do. If it were not for their performances, I'm not sure this would be as interesting or as admirable flick as it is. It could easily have been turned into a rather slow, boring romance.