Friday, 14 October 2011

Irene Grazioli & Vanna Barba in "Mediterraneo" [1991, Italy]

Gabriele Salvatores' "Mediterraneo" won the Oscar for best foreign language film, along with a few David's too. While it is a charming feel-good comedy, I could think of at least five worthy ones from the year that were not even nominated.

The story centres around a platoon of incompetent Italian soldiers who get themselves marooned in a remote Aegean island off Greece during World War II, with no contact with outside world for over three years - a period that also foresaw, unbeknown to them the fall of Mussolini and Italy's switching of sides to the Allies. During the time, they settle among the Greek residents, some falling in love with local women, while some like the lieutenant take up their pre-war hobbies - he repaints damaged murals in the island's only church. They finally get rescued one day - but not all of them are willing to leave. The lieutenant returns to the island after several years to discover the former comrades who'd stayed behind have lived full lives there all along.

The film is beautifully made with some stunning locations and great music. It is also mildly witty but you won't find anything deep here. It also appears to be too sanitised a vision of those horrible times, and the soldiers hardly look like they've seen any action in battle. Recommended for those wanting some easy viewing. There's also a nice deal going on Amazon now for those interested.

Amazon DVD Link

Compilation: Irene Grazioli and Vanna Barba
The film also features some brief scenes of nudity - one of them in particular stands out.

Irene Grazioli and Vanna Barba in Mediterraneo

Scene Guide:
  • A local shepherd girl is drawn to Libero and Felice - brothers from the Italian platoon - and it appears they like to do things together, as we'll soon see. The girl is played by ragazza dolce Irene Grazioli. The brothers are supposed to be manning a watch post on the other side of the island and report back every few days. Meanwhile the sergeant draws up a rota for taking turns with local prostitute Vassilissa. He tells the others that they must also take shifts with the brothers who're holed up all alone on the other side. But the brothers are of course anything but lonely!
  • Irene and the brothers go skinny dipping together - nice..!
  • When it is Antonio's turn with Vassilissa, he notices her fast asleep and lets her be. He had also hopelessly fallen in love with the prostitute at first sight. Vassilissa is played by the nicely proportioned Greek actress Vanna Barba.
  • He finally makes love to her after she asks him to - before that she talks about not remembering faces of any of the men who'd slept with her. Antonio and Vassilissa fall in love and even get married.


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