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Mon September 23, 2002
"The Last Kiss" ("L'Ultimo Bacio")
Gabriele Muccinio's "The Last Kiss" is a rapidly paced bedroom romp...
By Clay Lowe, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"The Last Kiss" ("L'Ultimo Bacio") returns us to those glorious days of yesteryear when Sophia Loren was a household word and "Marriage, Italian Style" was the guide for how Americans thought they should behave in their bedrooms. You know those heady days when we imagined everyone Italian was getting laid, and those that weren't were getting screwed? A world where everyone was breaking the rules and Marcello Mastroianni was bedding down with every stray filly on the Via Veneto?
Alas, gone are those sporty TR-3s, the sultry Gina Lollobrigidas and the steamy Anita Ekbergs wading thigh-deep in the fountains of Rome. Today's generations are decades hence and are the grown up children of those wild and wooly unions built on free love and do-your-own-thing. So how are these thirty-somethings holding up? Well, "The Last Kiss" has been a box office bonanza in Italy, even though it's a sugar coated retro-look at those old bugaboos of obligation and commitment that their hippie parents thought they'd hidden away in the smoky mists of the 60s and 70s.
Today's version of love Italian-style is a fast-moving comedy of manners that features young Francesca (Martina Stella) as a dewy eyed eighteen-year-old blonde who falls in love with the handsome thirty-year-old Carlo (Stefano Accorsi) at a family gathering. Carlo, however, is about to
be married to beautiful Giulia (Giovanna Mezzogiorno),who is about to give birth to the child of their live-in union. To further simmer the sauces, Guilia's mother, at the age of fifty, has decided to leave her husband of
thirty years, while at the same time Carlo's three buddies are urging him to chuck it all and go sailing with them to Turkey, Africa, and points beyond.
The folk wisdom offered up at the movie's climax is that if some day you're out running (to keep yourself trim for the man who once betrayed you) and a great big hunk of a guy goes jogging by and makes a pass . . .go for it because the audience will be with you all the way. The true moral, however, is that commitment is the price you pay for stability, and you're more likely to have all of those goodies out there -like things and stuff- if you share your resources with a Significant Other. Throw in the sex you may sometimes have and the kids in those strollers you can take jogging -and why wouldn't you opt for playing it safe?
But what about those buddies, with the rings in their noses, who are probably cycling across Africa by now? Let them go for they will have soon blown their youth "searching for that home they'll never find," because as Janis learned, they'll have nothing left to lose.
Gabriele Muccinio's "The Last Kiss" is a rapidly paced bedroom romp where everyone is getting laid or just getting . . . you've got it . . . screwed.
Clay Lowe co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time" and programs the film series at the Columbus Museum of Art.