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Beatrice Cenci
Perversion Story / The Conspiracy of Torture / Die Nackte und der Kardinal

Italy 1969
produced by
Giorgio Agliani for Filmena
directed by Lucio Fulci
starring Adrienne Larussa, Tomas Milian, Georges Wilson, Mavie, Antonio Casagrande, Ingazio Spalla, Max Steffen Zacharias, Raymond Pellegrin, Massimo Sarchielli, Mirko Ellis, John Bartha, Umberto D'Orsi, Gustave D'Arpe, Giuseppe Fortis, Alfio Petrini, Jerzy Reyzaker
screenplay by Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhen in the late Middle Ages: Francesco Cenci (Georges Wilson) has been killed, & the catholic church, having always lusting after his lands & money, is quick to bring his whole family to court, & sentencing them to death by decapitation. But what had happened ?

Earlier:

Don Francesco has kidnapped & raped a 14-year old girl, & as punishment for that the church does not only expell him from Rome for the whole summer but also takes a third of his lands (which the nephew of the pope always wanted to own. At their summer residence - actually quite a big castle -, Don Francesco's daughter Beatrice (Adrienne Larussa) becomes more & more repelled by her father's behaviour, so she figures the only sensible thing to do is to become a nun ... much to the dismay of her servant Olimpio (Tomas Milian), who is secretly in love with her ... & much to the dismay of her own father, who decides to - as a punishment - lock her away into a tiny cell of the castle for the whole summer to become accustomed to life in the monastery.

Later:

Don Francesco has died from a fall from his castle's walls, allegedly because he was drunk, but suspicions soon arise that servant Olimpio & his cutthroat friend Catalano (Ignazio Spalla) had something to do with it, & soon an inspector (Umberto D'Orsi) shows up asking many uncomfortable questions. & soon a confessin is tortured out of Olimpio, which heavily accuses Beatrice ... who denies everything.

Earlier:

Beatrice & Olimpio are lovers, & eventually Beatrice & her brother Giacomo (Antonio Casagrande) persuade Olimpio & Catalano to kill their father for them ... & in the end these 2 plus the whole Cenci family kill Don Francesco.

Later:

Under torture, Beatrice confesses that she was raped by her father so she would be impure & could thus not go to the monastery ... for the Roman people that is reason enough to kill the man & she becomes a sort of heroine, but for the church, still keen to get their hands on the Cenci fortune, it's reason enough to decapitate the whole family.

But since the church doesn't want to lose their support with the people, they pardon Beatrice ... only minutes after she is decapitated ...

 

A competently made period drama that makes some inspired use of repeated flashbacks & flashforwards to unfold the story in full & to shed in the end a light quite different from that in beginning on the whole story (though the story begins & ends with exactly the same space in time, Beatrice's decapitation).

What distracts the movie from coming to full effect though is the central character of Beatrice, who is alternatively shown as the virginal innocence herself & cold blooded avenging angel, but despite everything bad that happens to her, no character development is actually shown - to a point where the audience starts to not care all that much for her anymore.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD