The 4 th film in Cult Epics' Tinto Brass series is a lighthearted sex comedy, and one of the director's more accessible films (though a Brass movie without some shocking matter would be an affront to his cheeky reputation as a recognized and sometimes reviled filmmaker).
As Brass recounts in the excellent interview featurette, the director's wife suggested a script chronicling the unknown sexual terrain of a young girl, and Brass later embellished the story with observations relayed by his niece, when her own questions about Life and Sex needed some insight from her infamous uncle.
"Frivolous Lola" has its share of outrageousness - raunchy teasing from the film's woman-child heroine, full-frontal shots that straddle the boundary of softcore, tactile obsessions with bodily functions not commonly associated with arousal, and a lengthy self-pleasuring sequence preceded by a follicular variation of 'he loves me, he loves me not' - but Brass and his lady co-writers maintain a genuinely light tone (though the director's clearly having fun with interviewer Ranjit Sandhu, when he cites "Lola" as his own special homage to Chaplin. Ahem).
The print source is fairly clean, and Brass' gauze-doused visual design gives the film a seriously Seventies look; plenty of soft-focus photography and diffused back-lighting, and strong use of primary colours for the vintage cars and interior sets that evoke a blurry Forties/Fifties fantasyland. with modernistic renditions of jazz/pop classics. (The title song, however, is a fiendish creation that will spiral in your mind for days, with lingering images of a Lola's bike-ride and incessant, cat-like mooning.)
The mono soundtrack is a standard mix, and Pino Donaggio's score is largely song arrangements set to the director's' snappily edited sequences (including bookend scenes, that have Brass in a cameo as a bandleader). The disc includes the film's original Italian language track, plus an alternate English track; the latter evokes the hilarious over-emphatic sexploitation dubbing from the 70s, furthering the film's vintage tone.
Interviewer Sandhu and director Brass advantageously use the featurette to discuss Brass' career in broader terms - his marriage, editing style, Italian censors, and feminists wielding a bit more than vocal anger - and fans of and newcomers to the enigmatic, popo-loving Tinto Brass will be delighted there's a wry and funny human behind the more iconic cigar loving, viscerally inventive exploiter of the female mid-region.
Other Tinto Brass releases from Cult Epics include Deadly Sweet / Col cuore in gola (1967), Attraction / The Artful Penetration of Barbara / Nerosubianco (1969), Howl, The / L’hurlo (1970), The Key / La Chiave (1983), Miranda (1985), All Ladies Do It / Così fan tutte (1992), Voyeur, The / L'Uomo che guarda (1994), Frivolous Lola (1998), Cheeky / Trasgredire (2000), and Private / Fallo! (2003).
© 2004 Mark R. Hasan