Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Complicated Girl (1968, Damiano Damiani)




I still remember sitting in my car with a friend about 10 years ago. In the back seat was a copy of an Amityville Horror DVD box set of the first three films. I told him how I had just watched part 2 and how crazy it was. I also mentioned that it was directed by someone named Damiano Damiani which resulted in stupefying laughter. Little did I know that I would become a huge fan of his films...most of which are not incestual tales of possession, though many could be considered as subversive. Una ragazza piuttosto complicata (aka A Complicated Girl) is no exception.

A Complicated Girl stars Jean Sorel as Alberto, a man grieving over his dying mother. He accidentally listens in on Claudia (Catherine Spaak) on a sex call with another woman and ends up following her around. Their quick relationship becomes very volatile, as each of them play head games with each other. Alberto learns that Claudia has been made to be a plaything of sorts by her step mother (Florinda Bolkan, the other woman on the phone) and after spending a day with the two of them, decides to try to save Claudia. But things might not be what they seem and tragedy ensues.

It's hard to categorize A Complicated Girl. It is definitely a drama, but so much more. At times it feels almost Giallo-lite and also like a kinky sex comedy, but overall it is a well made character study on three very flawed characters, played by three brilliant actors. Catherine Spaak is mesmerizing to watch and Sorel plays the deviously immature Alberto perfectly. Damiani's use of locations and uncommon camera angles elevate the film's aesthetic quality above your average Italian Dramedy, giving the viewer something fresh, sexy and artistic.

Fun Facts -

-Damiano Damiani has worked in Horror (Amityville II: The Possession), Spaghetti Western (A Bullet for the General, A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe), Crime (The Case is Closed, Forget It, Confessions of a Police Captain), Historical Drama (The Assassin of Rome), and even directed a film called The Pizza Connection!

-Catherine Spaak also had a varied career, appearing in films such as the Antonio Margheriti Spaghetti Western Take a Hard Ride with Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly and Lee Van Cleef as well as the Dario Argento Giallo classic The Cat O' Nine Tails with Karl Malden and James Franciscus.

-This film is based on the story La marcia indietro (1959) by Alberto Moravia

-Una ragazza piuttosto complicata was released on Italian VHS in 1996

Currently this film is not available on Blu Ray and is only available on DVD in Italian. You can stream the film in full on Youtube or search the web for other methods of viewing.

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