Italian filmmaker Tinto Brass remains perhaps best known Stateside for working up 1979’s Caligula with Bob Guccione. He’s been a busy peddler of erotica both before and since, though, working up easily more than a dozen titles in the decades since his infamous, scandalous telling of imperial Roman debauchery. One of his more recent works, 2003’s Fallo!, released here as Private, finally sees the light of day in an affectionate new DVD treatment from Cult Epics.
Chapter-partitioned into six discrete segments, Private unspools somewhere between softcore and hardcore, as a lighthearted morality play about sexual disenchantment and the gulf between men and women. The cheeky first segment, “Alibi,” centers on Cinzia (Sara Cosmi) and Gianni (Massimiliano Caroletti), a vacationing married couple who look to stave off a seven-year itch by introducing into the bedroom a studly Moroccan bartender, Ali (William De Vito). Other stories concern the power dynamics in a relationship where the boyfriend is obsessed with the notion of backdoor action (which he isn’t getting), a honeymooning couple who locates a certain thrill in a peeping Tom, and a beach-set, flashback-heavy story of cuckolded shame. The strongest entry is probably “Double Trouble,” in which two couples sort of knowingly wink at one another’s dalliances with the other’s spouse, which may or may not be tied up in careerism.
Brass doesn’t shy away from delivering naked titillation, but the explicit content here is fairly minimal, and tame. While, narratively speaking, Brass gets into fetishism and philandering, all of Private‘s stories also have a hearty comedic component, and might as well have a goosing, slap-happy jazz score laid underneath them — with characters rolling around wildly in the grass or on a bed, for instance. The performances are of the hit-and-miss variety, but the work of cinematographer Federico Del Zoppo and composer Francesco Santucci help further give the film a buoyant sense of liveliness and jocularity. It helps, too, that there’s no awkward stab at a “wraparound” narrative here, though the concluding tale, “Call Me Pig… I Like It” (yes, seriously), ends with an amusing cameo — or reveal, let’s say — that serves as a perfectly amusing sort of bird’s-eye exclamation point to the movie.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Private comes to DVD presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with an Italian language stereo audio track subtitled in English. Its chief supplemental feature is a 18-minute making-of featurette which shows Brass, now in his late 70s, to be, um, a very hands-on director. Brief chats with many of the on-screen players are included, though they’re hardly in depth enough to glean much of substance about the production, save the fact that one actress confirms she encounters the only real phallus in the movie. Much more engaging and amusing is the subtitled portion of an interview with Brass, in which he says this of his film: “First and foremost it is about the more pushy affirmations of the jaunty, even barefaced feminine eroticism. I could dedicate it to people of importance, like Hillary Clinton or Monica Lewinsky.” (Err… what?) The release’s other special features consist of the trailer for Private as well as five other Brass films, in addition to two separate photo galleries that completely blur the risible distinction between “regular” and “adult,” or NSFW. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C+ (Movie) B- (Disc)