A Fate Foretold – Rediscovering ‘Malamore’ (Italy 1982 – 90 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - January 12, 2016
A Fate Foretold – Rediscovering ‘Malamore’ (Italy 1982 – 90 mins)

An intriguing adult tale with a touch of tragedy, the little seen Italian drama ‘Malamore’ is an obscure film with a simple plot, yet very well told.

During the 1st World War, Marcello (Jimmy Briscoe), a wealthy dwarf who has long been sheltered by his embarrassed family, meets and falls in love with Maria (Nathalie Nell), a prostitute from a nearby brothel. Their budding friendship is ridiculed by Maria’s boyfriend, who eventually sets out to rob and kill the dwarf. But when Maria’s tarot reading foresees danger for Marcello, she decides to intervene, but at a cost to her own wellbeing.

An offbeat movie with a minor cult cast, attractive French actress Nathalie Nell is very good, though remains largely unknown outside of her native France. A talented actress, she has always reminded me of Lee Remick, and has taken on various challenging and interesting roles in her career, not least the 1978 drama ‘Rape of Love’. Nell also had a memorable minor role in the under-rated Hollywood picture ‘Man, Woman and Child’ (’83), as Martin Sheen’s tragic ex-lover. Jimmy Briscoe also does well as the unfortunate Marcello, while (as Maria’s lover Cesare) Antonio Marsina was more at home in Euro-westerns, including the 1976 classic ‘Keoma’. The film also features an early appearance from a 24 year old Serena Grandi, playing the first of her many movie appearances as a prostitute.

This was to be the final movie from director Eriprando Visconti (nephew of the legendary Luchino) who had earlier written and directed the cult kidnap thriller ‘La Orca’ (’77) starring Rena Niehaus.

Though it’s no classic, if you’re after an adult drama that’s a little bit different, then ‘Malamore’ may fit the bill. With an intriguing plot, excellent period detail and good performances from both Nathalie Nell and Jimmy Briscoe, it’s more than worth seeking out, especially if you’re a lover of offbeat or art-house cinema.

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