Black Angel

2002 [ITALIAN]

Drama / Romance / Thriller

IMDb Rating 5 10 1896

Keywords:   sex addiction

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 05, 2022 at 06:35 AM



Tinto Brass as (uncredited)
1.14 GB
Italian 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 7 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SMK-4 8 / 10

Sex Drama in typical Brass Style

The marketing for this film refers to Tinto Brass's much earlier works, The Key, and Salon Kitty. Although Brass made many films since, this referral is entirely appropriate, as the style of Senso '45 is very much inspired by (if not derived from) these pictures, especially The Key. For the uninitiated: this is soft pornography of the classy kind.

As in both of these films, Brass sets the story during WWII. As in The Key, we have as central character a woman well past her twenties (in this case even well past her thirties) who explores her sexuality. Her lover is a blond SS officer, whose mannerisms recall the character played by Helmut Berger in Salon Kitty. Slightly unusual for Brass is to move from comedic to dramatic territory, but this shift proved useful when it came to depicting the dark and obsessive side of the central relationship.

The casting of Anna Galiena was excellent, and not just regarding her acting abilities. On the one hand, there is no credibility-stretching age gap between her and her husband (as there was between Sandrelli and Finlay in The Key). On the other, she looks fantastic for her age, even in the nude, and thus the sexual chemistry between Livia and Helmut appears quite real, despite the 20 year age gap between Galiena and Garko. Still, Gabriel Garko's SS officer leaves something to be desired, most simply put: his hair colour does. Garko's hair had been dyed straw blond, but he does not look like a blond man at all. Perhaps Italians do not have an eye for this, or, more likely, it was too late to change casting and Brass insisted on a blond SS man for this leading part, so he went ahead regardless. This bit of sacrificed realism is certainly at odds with the drama.

Reviewed by Falconeer 9 / 10

An erotic masterpiece...

I was quite amazed by this passionate, old-fashioned style tragic romance. The costumes, the cinematography, Ennio Morricone's sweeping score, all come together to create an absolute classic of it's genre. Anna Galiena and Gabriel Garko are beautiful together as doomed lovers that find each other in the desperate, waning days of the second World War. Helmut Schulz, played by the impossibly sensual Garko, is a sleazy and corrupt young SS officer, addicted to gambling, women, and to other of life's excesses. His decadent lifestyle does not come cheap, and when the beautiful but lonely Livia, (in an amazingly elegant performance by the wonderful Anna Galiena) offers to financially support Helmut, the amoral man does not refuse. Director Tinto Brass photographs the present day in glorious black and white, while we see, in blazing color the erotic love affair as it unfolded, in a series of flashbacks described by Livia, while en route to Venice. "Senso 45/Black Angel" is Tinto Brass' most serious work. It seems like he wanted to create something impressive here, and he did just that. A much more accomplished film than his "Salon Kitty." Effectively capturing the decadence of Fascist Italy, 1945 in a dizzying orgy scene, filled with graphic and strange sexuality and drug taking, a trademark of Tinto Brass, and unforgettable images of Anna and her SS lover in desperate embraces in shadowy back alleys or sparse rooms, with rays of sunlight filtering through lace curtains. It is hard to describe the beauty and elegance of this film. For fans of erotic romance, and films that possess this specifically European style of film making, this intoxicating art-house film is certain to impress. As of yet "Black Angel" has not had a DVD release for North America, but there is a wonderful edition from the UK that offers an uncensored, widescreen version, in original Italian with English subtitles.

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 5 / 10

BLACK ANGEL (Tinto Brass, 2002) **1/2

This is my fifth excursion in Tinto Brass territory but only the third from his (mostly) softcore entries for which he became notorious. Having seen the man in the flesh at the midnight screening of his rare pop-art thriller DEADLY SWEET (1967) during the 61st Venice Film Festival in 2004, he seemed more like a reasonably literate and genuinely larger-than-life character perennially chomping on his cigar than a dirty old man who occasionally realizes his erotic fantasies on film.

Although the majority of his later films were modest exploitation stuff at best, sometimes he did seek to be taken more seriously by breaking into the mainstream and even art-house circles. The Nazisploitation epic SALON KITTY (1975) was the first of such attempts, the misconceived debacle CALIGULA (1979) was the most infamous with THE KEY (1983) being perhaps the most successful of the lot. Unfortunately, Blue Underground's 2-Disc Set of SALON KITTY has been out-of-print for some time but I do have THE KEY on VHS recorded off Italian TV.

BLACK ANGEL, then, is Tinto Brass' latest bid for respectability. Based on the same source novel from which Luchino Visconti made an acclaimed movie in 1954, Brass transposes the action to the last days of WWII and, true to his nature, has the promiscuous characters indulge wholeheartedly (and explicitly, including some hardcore footage) in every sin of the flesh he can point his camera at for two hours. The major set-piece of the film is a marathon 10-minute orgy sequence which includes most of the offending footage but also quaint, risible stuff like a group of revelers marching in tow through the rooms of a château led by a naked woman proudly holding onto a huge, gold-plated phallus!

For what it's worth, the plot deals with a young, blond, womanizing Nazi officer (Gabriel Garko) who sets his sights on a much older Italian aristocrat (Anna Galiena) who is only to keen to satisfy his every whim. Naturally, he is reluctant to cut down on his vices (which also include gambling) and far from happy with her overly jealous demeanor; after surprising him in bed with a much younger girl, the Italian woman eventually takes belated revenge by betraying him to his commanding officers regarding his plans for desertion.

While the film as a whole is not too badly done in itself and features an Ennio Morricone score to boot, nothing especially memorable happens in it and one is hard pressed to feel sympathy for these lewd, unlikable and opportunistic characters and, consequently, the viewer's interest in the proceedings rises and sags accordingly.

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