The Scarlet Diva (2000) from Tuna

Scarlet Diva (2000) marks Asia Argento's first effort at directing a feature film. She also wrote, and starred in it. Father Dario Argento helped produce, or the film would probably not have been made. It is a semi-autobiographical piece about and actress who wants to direct a film called Scarlet Diva. The plot is secondary to the style, which is both good and bad. Bad, because style without form and purpose is just eye candy, but good because the film is mostly in Italian, and only has Italian sub-titles during the English, German and French parts. The film is a series of vignettes all over the world, but there is some structure.

The next paragraph is all spoiler.

We learn that Asia is a "bad girl" in the opening scene where a big black guy is slamming her in her dressing trailer while they are waiting for her on set. Interrupted before she could climax, she stops off in the john to masturbate, then goes to the set. She rescues her best friend, Vera Gemma, who has been bounded and gagged, then left alone. Her lover returns, smacks her in the mouth, then does her with gusto. Asia leaves. Next, she ends up in bed with an Australian rock star. We later find out she is pregnant. Then Asia is raped by a female fan, Selen. She nearly overdoses, is beaten and nearly raped twice, and nearly loses her baby, then finds out that the rock star is married.


Nudity Report:
  • Asia Argento -- breasts, bush and buns in multiple scenes, one very well lit as she shaves her armpit.
  • Selen -- brief breasts
  • Vera Gemma -- Buns while tied up, then breasts with her heavily tattooed boyfriend.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1.

  • unrated version

  • full-length commentary by star/director Asia Argento

  • interview with Asia Argento

  • photo gallery

While this is very self-indulgent, and has way more style than substance, it is not totally without merit, and Argento does command the lens whenever she is on camera. The pace is frantic, the editing full of jump cuts, and there is lots of strange lighting. Like her father's work, the sound track is VERY much in evidence. It is really more like a 91 minute rock video than a feature film, but did not lose my interest. Asia may have a real film in her.

The Critics Vote

  • drive-in review from Joe Bob Briggs. Joe Bob wrote a serious review, and he liked it!

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.4 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna judges this film to be a C+. (Scoop says: D. I do agree that Asia shows some ability, should stick with it, and may someday make good films. But not today. This movie is honest and courageous, but it is also self-pitying and juvenile. It plays out like a film school senior project made by someone who is passionate about films and about life, but just too young to express her passion coherently. Lots of sex and nudity, however.)

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