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Dario is a little publisher from Milano. He is joining the Mantova Festival Letteratura (Book fair) 2004. Marta, his unsatisfied wife, accompanies him. Leon is a French designer-photographer. While Dario is busy with his own business, Marta take a visit to the celebrated Palazzo Te; here under Giulio Romano's fresco representing Jupiter's erected penis she meets Leon. Immediately they become lovers and spend the entire book exhibitions' days making love almost everywhere. This liaison will have soon effects also on the regular one between Marta and Dario.
For more about Monamour and the Monamour Blu-ray release, see Monamour Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 11, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Anna Jimskaia
Director: Tinto Brass
» See full cast & crew
Monamour Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 11, 2011
Tinto Brass' "Monamour" (2005) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Cult Epics. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original trailer; Tinto Brass' short film "Kick the Cock"; making of featurette; footage from the film's premiere at the Venice Film Festival Premiere with Tinto Brass; footage from a shooting session with Angelita Franco; impromptu dance by Angelita Franco; and a teaser. In Italian, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free. Please be advised that the film contains explicit footage that is not appropriate for minors!
Monamour is about a young and very beautiful Italian girl named Marta (Anna Jimskaia), who becomes frustrated with her husband (Max Parodi) and ends up befriending a handsome Frenchman (Riccardo Marino) looking to befriend a frustrated Italian girl. They meet in a museum. At first Marta plays hard to get, but later on the Frenchman is forced to call for back up because he realizes that he might have underestimated her. A friendly Italian hunk answers the call.
Of course, Marta is very much in love with her husband. She simply needs something he either can't give her or does not realize that she desperately wants. The film does not clarify which one is it, but it feels like it is the former. At least this is the impression I got from the rather intense sequence in which Marta, the Frenchman and his friend meet in a hotel somewhere in the city of Mantua.
Meanwhile, Marta's husband discovers a secret diary in which she has been documenting her frustration. Surprised and angered by her writings, he decides to teach her a lesson she won't forget – but she ends up liking it.
I've come to realize that the overwhelming majority of the people who loathe Italian director Tinto Brass because they are convinced that he is a pornographer are not familiar with his body of work. How do I know? When these people speak they always refer to Brass' infamous Caligula, a highly disturbing film that is difficult to like but, in my opinion, impossible not to admire (even with Bob Guccione's contribution). There is a little bit of explicit sex in it and in their minds explicit sex is synonymous with pornography, which makes Brass a pornographer. Nothing could be further from the truth, but if you are convinced that I am wrong, then stop reading and move on. Monamour is not for you.
Monamour is not one of Brass' best films, but it is far from being the disaster some critics claim it is. It falls somewhere between Fermo posta Tinto Brass and Fallo!, both of which are better polished and ultimately far more elegant films. Perhaps because it was shot in HD, Monamour occasionally looks like an amateur film full of surprisingly good looking amateur actors who were simply happy to improvise in front of the camera.
The script is rather weak. Aside from one quite hilarious conversation between Marta and one of her best friends (Nela Lucic), the rest of the film is basically a series of mostly flavorless erotic scenes in which Brass uses old tricks -- the mandatory massive mirrors with the floating asses, the raunchy dream sequences where the main protagonists would typically experiment, etc. -- to spice up the story.
The stunningly beautiful Anna Jimskaia also does not look Italian at all, yet in the film it is repeatedly made clear that her character is a Venetian girl. I doubt most male viewers would care, but this is only one of many such issues that make the film look amateurish.
Lastly, a few of the color and light manipulations in Monamour are surprisingly extreme. The dream sequences and memory flashbacks, in particular, look very rough, making it perfectly clear that Brass is most effective when he shoots period films.
Note: In 2006, Monamour was screened at Cannes Film Market.
Monamour Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Tinto Brass' Monamour arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Cult Epics.
I am not convinced that Tinto Brass' decision to shoot Monamour in HD was a particularly good one. His color and light manipulations here are simply not very convincing, while some of the erotic scenes remind about short amateur videos. I much prefer the traditional lush look of his Salon Kitty, La chiave, and especially Paprika.
Compared to the disappointing UK R2 SDVD release of the film -- featuring an ugly non-anamorphic transfer plagued by serious artifacts -- this Blu-ray release of Monamour is a revelation. First, detail is substantially improved. The close-ups are no longer soft and blurry (see screencapture #1 and 4), while the few intimate scenes where light is restricted do not look frustratingly dark. Color reproduction is also a lot stronger, though the various color manipulations simply do not look overly convincing (see the white dream sequence - sceencapture # 15). Second, clarity is much better primarily because the serious artifacts have been eliminated. There are, however, some inherited digital halo-like effects that give the film a slightly harsher than usual look. Still, in motion the film looks consistently crisp and healthy. All in all, this is a convincing presentation of Monamour, which I believe will be the best one on the market for a long time. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Monamour Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, and English Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Cult Epics have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
Once again, the fact that these otherwise excellent Cult Epics releases lack loseless audio tracks is a bit disappointing. The Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 track, however, is quite robust. Heron Borelli's score -- with the mandatory for Tinto Brass films long clarinet solos -- sounds very good, while the dialog is always crisp, clean, and stable. There are two scenes where it is quite easy to tell that some extra moaning was added later on, but this is hardly surprising. The English translation is excellent.
Monamour Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Monamour Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Monamour is only for longtime fans of Tinto Brass. It is not one of the Italian director's best films, but it certainly isn't the disaster some critics claim it is. I personally prefer his period films and truly hope that Cult Epics will bring to Blu-ray the very good Miranda, Così fan tutte and Paprika. RECOMMENDED.
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