Pretty Asia is a Sad Girl
Keith W. Johnson | Summerville, SC United States | 09/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, I have to admit something. I have an inexplicably massive crush on Asia Argento. Why? I don't know. I simply do. How does this effect my review? Decide for yourself.I've read Scarlet Diva is semi-autobiographical, so if you're interested in learning about Asia (as I was) there's no better starting point than this film. You'll find her audio commentary track to be especially revealing. Asia discusses the relationship she had with her mother and how it is represented in the film. She also discusses her father, the Italian horror director Dario Argento, on the commentary and his influence on the movie. Asia talks a lot about what she was going for in certain scenes and what she was hoping to accomplish. Good stuff.The movie itself is a little harder to describe. Asia is great in the film, but in essence, she is playing herself so it's not surprising she does a good job of it. Asia does some interesting things with the camera and plays a little bit with symbolism (an umbrella blows down an empty street... uh, what does that represent again, Asia?) and religious imagery. As you watch, you can't help wondering how much is true and how much isn't. Asia's commentary helps you sort through much of it. For instance, she sadly points out the scene where she is seduced by a blonde stranger is one of the few scenes with absolutely no basis in fact. How disappointing.The movie will probably depress and disturb you as you venture into the life of Anna Batista, a young actress who seems to have the world at her feet. However, we discover the life of celebrity isn't as much fun as one might think. Anna is subjected to as much loss and rejection as any other poor sucker. Anna smokes a lot of cigarettes. Anna has abortion nightmares. Anna is abandoned by the one person she thought she loved. Anna has some weird friends. Is Anna all that different from you or me? Some have described this film as self-indulgent. Well, who wouldn't want to examine and experience their own life from the perspective of a director where you have complete creative control? Isn't that what art is? An examination of who and what we are? Asia handles the material well, considering it's her first feature as a director. And in any case, I don't mind Asia being self-dulgent because, well, she's so darned hot.Still, I have a hard time recommending this to non-Asia fans. You'll probably love it or hate it or just wind up confused. Some will come away thinking it is too artsy (i.e. pretentious) for their tastes. Others will just be excited that it's a movie totally about Asia. Personally, I fall in this second category."
Hey, turn on the subtitles!
Saint Sangre | rockford, il. United States | 04/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"ignore the other reviewers because this DVD does have subtitles, you may just have to turn them on in your menu.. unless I have some sort of magical copy!?!! anyways Scarlet Diva is another love it or hate it art house flick. It all depends on if you like Asia Argento, because this is a vehicle for her. Some magazines have critized this movie as an ego trip for her but they wouldn't dare say that about a woody allen movie or any other project from a multi-talented artist..you can tell this movie was made to tell some sort of life story and you can tell it is heavily dramatized..the film itself has it's own voyeuristic feel to it and some of the scenes and transitions are just wonderful (one of my favs include a shot of asia covering her arms over her head and the arms transition into a pillow that spreads open revealing asia was sleeping..hard to explain but the small things are what make this movie beautiful)..the movie is a little shapeless and drags in some areas but for a directoral debut with a small budget, this is impressive. I hope Asia directs again with a story that it is completely different so it can show an extension of her talents."
Sometimes Painful But Very Strong Account of Actress's Life
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/06/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Asia Argento, daughter of Italian horror maestro Dario, has been a gifted actress on her own before her appearance in "XXX" with Vin Diesel, after her good turns in some English-speaking films like "B-Monkey" (directed by Michael Radford, "Il Postino" fame and "New Rose Hotel" by none other than Abel Ferrara. And her film debut goes back to the year 1985. Considering the fact she was born in 1975, her career is as memorable as that of Drew Barrymore, and it is only natural that Asia goes on to direct her own film, which turns out "Scarlet Diva," full of, some say, her autobiographical elements.The film traces a life of Italian actress Anna Battista, who is at the height of popularity. But despite of her fame, her private life is terribly bleak: in short, sex, drug, and violence. But in Paris, she meets her destiny, that is, a musician from Australia named Kirk, with whom she shares a bed one night. After the meeting with him, Anna attempts to change her life, taking more seriously of her life. But the surrounding people in the industy would not listen. The Hollywood producer doesn't hear her plead to be taken seriously, and only desires her body, not the scrpit she wrote."Scarlet Diva" goes on like this. The film suffers from its repetitions of the heroine's agony, which looks often as if having no end. Though the camera brings the atomosphere of the place to life vividly (with digital video), the narrative is not particularly effective. We know from the beginning where the film would go, and it goes there. But the strong point of the film does not lie there, but in Asia's convincing performance as a tormented heroine. You may feel this film looks self-indulgent, and that tendency should be admitted. But her good acting, very emotional and true to herself, raises the film to higher level, showing that she is more than a daughter of famous director, or a psuedo-Bond girl in Hollywood movies.Many interesting names appear in addition to painter Joe Coleman. Vera Jemma (Italian actor Giuliano Gemma's daughter) as Anna's friend, and Daria Nicolodi (Asia's mother) as Anna's mother. The soundtrack music is done by John Hughes, the son of much famous director of the same name (of Molly Ringwald films), and the film is produced by Dario and Claudio Argento, the latter being Asia's uncle."
No Hollywood actress can ever come close to this performance
methos11 | Amityville, New York United States | 10/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The name Asia Argento may not be mainstream in America, but for the cult audience she is the Queen of European cinema. Intelligent, funny, and willing to break any taboo you throw at her, Asia Argento is a true artist and actress who puts... American actresses like Julia Roberts and Gwenyth Paltrow to shame. This movie, semi-autobiographical, is Asia in the raw. Totally stripped and laid bare to the viewer. Is there lots of nudity in the picture? Yes. Is there a story? Yes. Is there a performance that touches you? Yes. Asia Argento is not for the weak-minded, but this movie shows the "XXX" crowd that she's much more than a pretty face. With her trademark tatoo and oddly fascinating beauty, Asia Argento is an actress to be admired. Her direction in this movie, not surprisingly, is just as raw and unbalanced. Bravo, Asia! Look out America, you have no idea how good this woman is."