Jul 5, 2014

The Story of Piera




Upon the death of her master/mentor Rainer Werner Fassbinder, blonde Teutonic diva Hanna Schygulla (Effi Briest, The Marriage of Maria Braun) tried in vain to find a new master by working with various eclectic filmmakers from all around the world, ranging from Polish auteur Andrzej Wajda to second-rate Israeli’s like Amos Kollek and Amos Gitai to modern masters from ex-communist nations like Béla Tarr and Alexander Sokurov. Of course, the actress never reached the level of glamour, beauty, and charisma that she did while working with Fassbinder, who essentially turned her into the Marilyn Monroe of post-WWII German cinema. Indeed, like the tragic Some Like It Hot (1959) star, Schygulla is not exactly the most gifted of actresses but, not unlike Billy Wilder with Norman Jean, Fassbinder was fully aware of his muse’s strengths and weakness and knew how to figuratively and literally cast her in the right light when directing her, as he essentially molded her into the actress she is today. While no other director could touch Fassbinder’s iconic celluloid achievements with the voluptuous little blonde, Italian auteur Marco Ferreri (Dillinger Is Dead, La Grande Bouffe) certainly attempted to inspire Schygulla to transcend her meager acting abilities, while also making her bare her skin in various scandalous fashions. In fact, for her role in Ferreri’s strikingly sleazy yet strangely charming celluloid abortion The Story of Piera (1983) aka Storia di Piera, the actress won the award for “Best Actress” at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. While I would not have exactly described her performance in the film as the greatest of her career, it is certainly her ‘bravest,’ as she plays the negligent nymphomaniac mother of sensual frog Jewess Isabelle Huppert in a work with a legendary sexually unhinged ending where the two European diva actresses get totally naked and embrace in a meta-erotic fashion that demonstrates why Ferreri was the most idiosyncratic Guido pervert filmmaker to have ever lived, which is certainly no small achievement. Indeed, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Schygulla as disharmonious husband and wife, as well as Huppert as their equally sexually perverted teenager daughter, The Story of Piera certainly has the cast of what one would assume to be a marvelous masterwork, yet the film is a miserable mess of a movie that has little to offer aside from subversive sex of the unintentionally absurdist sort. Based on the tell-all autobiography of Italian stage (and sometimes cinema) actress Piera Degli Esposti (Ghosts – Italian Style, The Tenth One in Hiding), albeit focusing more on the mother than the actress, The Story of Piera is not much more than salacious yet suavely stylized arthouse smut that allows certain cinephiles to see some of their greatest sexual fantasies come to life. In short, the film is arguably Ferreri’s most daring attempt at making a fantasy fuck flick (though the film is not as graphic as the director’s 1977 work The Last Woman aka La Dernière femme, which features Gérard Depardieu walking around with an unsimulated erection). Indeed, like the average porn movie, The Story of Piera is full of frivolous filler, plagued by incoherence, and only really gets good during the sporadic sex scenes, though one must give credit to Ferreri for cinematically spitting in goombah neo-bolshevik Bernardo Bertolucci’s face by depicting a Marxist true believer as being more or less sexually impotent. Lacking Ferreri’s signature sardonic and quite cartoonish comedy, the film ultimately seems like a sexy celluloid skeleton without any real meat, even if it exposes Schygulla and Huppert's meat. 




 While giving birth to her daughter Piera at the end of the Second World War, debauched dago dame Eugenia (Hanna Schygulla) laughs as if being defiant at god, for she seems to derive ecstasy from having a little human coming out of her little hole. While still just a prepubescent girl, Piera (as depicted by Bettina Grühn during the preteen years) accompanies her mother while she has sex with numerous strange and usually physically repulsive men. Indeed, due to the fact that her commie professor husband Lorenzo (Marcello Mastroianni) cannot sensually satisfy her, Eugenia regularly swaps fluids with swarthy strangers and her daughter Piera soon learns to be a shameless whore as well by setting up lines where she makes out with countless boys and rates their kissing talents in a rather harsh fashion, thus demonstrating her early resentment towards men of all shapes and sizes. Piera’s social problems are not just in the sexual realm, as she confesses to her father that she is deathly afraid of “other people” and that she rather kill herself than go to school. Eugenia is such a neglectful mother that she allows a completely naked and horrendously hairy middle-age man to sensually touch her daughter, as if she wants the man to deflower her little girl. Eventually, Eugenia is locked up in a mental institution and the head psychiatrist tells Piera that her mad mommy, “needs shock therapy to get well,” though he also remarks to the girl that she has “nice little tits.” After being institutionalized and berated by her husband for incessantly whoring around town, Eugenia yells at Piera for not defending her debauchery, stating, “Stand up for me, you idiot,” as if it is a daughter’s ordained duty to defend her messed up mother’s slutty behavior. Of course, Eugenia does attempt to teach her daughter a couple of important things, like how to French kiss, but in the long run, the little girl would ultimately look at her mother as her nemesis and born rival. 



 Naturally, when Piera (Isabelle Huppert) comes of age and becomes a fully developed teenager, she begins all sorts of unhinged sexual relationships. Indeed, father Lorenzo describes her as “my masterpiece” whilst hitting on his little girl Piera and touching her nubile titties. Being from an overtly incestuous family, Piera wants daddy dearest all to herself and even attempts to convince Lorenzo to break up with Eugenia, but the old pinko is too pussy-whipped to give up on his wildly wanton wife. Meanwhile, Piera begins a lesbian relationship with a slightly overweight Sicilian-like woman named Arianna who is about the same age as her mother. After Piera, who is now an actress, collapses on stage, Arianna has her suckle on her nipple as if she is her daughter, thus demonstrating the theory that lesbianism is sometimes the result of a girl having a horrible relationship with her mother and desiring a new mother figure. When Lorenzo asks his daughter to show him her legs, he complains they are not as good as Eugenia’s, so Piera whips out her bushy pussy and rhetorically asks, “My mother’s is better too?” While gently caressing her pubic fur, Lorenzo confesses to his daughter regarding his troubled relationship with her mother Eugenia, “I made love to her for hours. And I could never satisfy her.” Indeed, Lorenzo is a broken would-be-bolshevik who complains regarding his two self-professed loves, the red flag and Eugenia, “Now the red flag has retired me. And Eugenia is destroying my life.” Perennially determined to one-up her mother in terms of sex appeal, Piera steals one of Eugenia’s young boyfriends and asks the man how she makes love. According to the young man, Eugenia makes for a good lover because she is, “Very tender. Clean. She has a scent.” After playing the eponymous lead in a stage performance of Medea, Piera begins to find purpose and stability in her life, though her mother is as crazy as ever and is ultimately institutionalized again, while her father is placed in a separate mental institution. In the end, Piera picks up her mother from the nuthouse and the two go to a beach where they get naked and embrace, as if they are about to make love.  I guess one might describe this as a 'happy' ending.



 Needless to say, since the film incessantly depicts incestuous situations but never depicts all-out carpet-munching, The Story of Piera concludes rather anticlimactically. After The Story of Piera, Hanna Schygulla would once again work with Marco Ferreri on the film Il futuro è donna (1984) aka The Future Is Woman, which also stars Guido goddess Ornella Muti. Like The Story of Piera, The Future Is Woman is a dead serious work lacking the director's signature sardonicism and absurdism and featuring weak communist men who cannot handle the strong and hyper horny women in their lives. Indeed, it seems the older he got, the more Ferreri seemed to believe that Italian men, especially of the Marxist sort, developed a deleterious degree of emasculation from which they could never recover. During The Story of Piera, Eugenia more or less unwittingly reveals the source of her nymphomania by crying, “nobody loves me the way I want.” Of course, Eugenia’s hubby was too busy wanking off to Trotsky and writers from the Frankfurt School to sexually satisfy his sexually voracious beloved. As the title of The Future Is Woman quite clearly demonstrates, it seems Ferreri believed that men were headed for a decidedly dystopian future of all-encompassing cuckoldry and total social and sexual submission. Indeed, it certainly takes a major lack of total testicular fortitude for him to allow his wife to screw other men while their prepubescent daughter watches intently as depicted in The Story of Piera. If one ever needs evidence that debunks the myth of Italian male sexual prowess, they can just check out Marco Ferreri's oeuvre. 



-Ty E

15 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Rolf Harris was just unlucky that he was born into "THE TIME OF LIES, HYPOCRISY, AND SEXUAL REPRESSION". still, at least Jimmy Savile got away with it so thats something to be thankful for (although, strickly speaking, i`m not sure what he actually got away with, after all he was just a completely normal heterosexual geezer doing completely normal heterosexual geezer oriented things !!!!!). "THE TIME OF LIES, HYPOCRISY, AND SEXUAL REPRESSION", what a loathsome and odious period of history to have been born into.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

That should be quite a semi-final between the 'supposed' Aryan master race Krauts and the 'supposed' unter-girl-sch mongrels of Brazil on Tuesday night Ty E, will you be watching ?. If the Krauts do lift the trophy next Sunday you`ll be laughing because it will prove your Aryan Kraut master race theory, especially if they beat the Dutch in the final, yet more Aryans !!!!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its a shame Hanna was pushing 40 in this movie, she was 22 years past her prime. I would`ve loved to have poked her bum with my willy on Christmas day 1961 (her 18th birthday), what a present for her, my knob sunk to the nuts up her amazing 18 year-old arse-hole, pure heaven.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I actually think Hanna is a truly great actress (and that greatness has got nothing what-so-ever to do with the unfortunate influence of that disgusting and odious faggot Fassbinder) and certainly better than Marilyn Monroe.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"Blonde teutonic diva", once again Ty E you enjoyed emphasizing Hanna's master race Aryan status didn`t you !!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"Voluptuous little blonde", that phrase immediately made me think of a big-titted version of Heather O`Rourke...WOW !!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"She allows a completely naked and horrendously hairy middle-aged girl to sensually touch her daughter, as if she wants the girl to deflower her little girl", ah, the joys of completely normal hu-girl behaviour, lets hope "THE TIME OF LIES, HYPOCRISY, AND SEXUAL REPRESSION" is brought to a thankful and merciful end very soon then EVERYBODY in the world will be able to act completely normally for ever-after without any more interference from the faggots and liars and hypocrites and cowards and decievers who unfortunately run Hollywood and the media.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Isabelle Huppert (as the bird was in 1971 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Bettina Gruhn (as the little darlin` was 30 years ago, not as the middle-aged slag is now obviously), what a sweet little darlin` she was.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I like the picture where the gorgeous little girl is about to touch the lucky bastards dick, pure pedo heaven, i just wish the little girl had been completely naked as well and the adult bird hadn`t been in the shot obviously, another art-house swizz (con) just like when you couldn`t see Brando's knob going up Maria's bum in Last Tango in Paris.

Jennifer Croissant said...

I must admit that picture of Huppert as Medea is a stunning image, i`d like to frame that picture and hang it in my bedroom.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

For a 39 year-old bird Hanna's bum still looks eminently buggerable in that picture, but just imagine how much more incredible her arse must`ve been 21 years earlier when she was 18, that would`ve been the time to bugger her senseless !!!!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

This films original release date was almost exactly 5 years to the very day before Heather snuffed it, it was also filmed around the time that Dominique Dunne was snuffed out by that bastard John Sweeney, another couple of odd and eerie co-incidences involving this movie and two shining stars from Poltergeist.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, how could Marco Ferreri have been a pervert if he was heterosexual !?, he was normal, its faggot scum like Fassbinder who are the perverts !!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Although i like the picture of the bird sucking the other birds tit and the picture of the bushy twat (although i prefer bald 8 year-old quims obviously), i dont really like the picture of the two birds in the ocean at the end, perhaps because both birds were well past their prime at the time of filming.