August 18, 2014: Viola Bacia Tutti – a.k.a. Viola Kisses Everybody (1998)

Cast and Crew: Giovanni Veronesi (Director); Valerio Mastandrea, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini

What It’s About: A young woman with a pistol (Asia Argento, daughter of Dario) robs a bank and commandeers a camper van complete with three hapless men on vacation.  Charming, cheesy Italian fare from an era in European history that also brought us the Spice Girls and the Vengaboys.

Why Watch it Today?: The Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed on this date in 1920.  Most suffragettes in film are insufferable (see, e.g., Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins), so instead celebrate women’s liberation with this ridiculous Italian comedy with a woman in charge.  The tagline on the posters read “Tre Uomini e Una… Ladra” means “Three Men and a Lady Thief.”  To be honest, my friend Adei and I went to the outdoor film showing in Perugia one August night sixteen years ago to watch a documentary about the Mafia.  However, we were mistaken about what was showing and this was it.  It was quite silly.  You will not honor women’s accomplishments at all by watching it.  But you will see a very different side of Italian cinema from the somberness of Ladri di Biciclette or the irritating self-importance of 8 1/2.

Wait, Why Should I Watch This?  It’s Not in English!?!!:  Okay, you’re right.  It’s going to be damn hard for you to watch this movie.  I don’t know if they ever actually made a dubbed or subtitled version.  Any versions available on Amazon are encoded for region 2 or 3.  This is the thing that drove me to piracy (Kazaa etc.) back in the day: I would like to consume cheesy Italian culture, but none of it is available in America!  What am I supposed to do?  Export a DVD player from Italy?  It is as if Hollywood wants to keep all of us Americans completely in thrall to boring Anglo culture and prohibited from sampling the wide range of other ridiculous options the world has to offer.  So, in honor of women attaining the right to vote in America 96 years ago today, strike a blow for freedom by finding some insane way to watch this movie.  You may regret it — but I can promise you will laugh at least once.

Seriously, why would you want national decision-making taken care of only by men?  These dudes can’t even decide where to go on their road trip:

Ladies know how to make a plan and execute it… sort of… (subtitles in who knows what language):


Oh, and here’s some naked dudes’ butts (NSFW):

One comment on “August 18, 2014: Viola Bacia Tutti – a.k.a. Viola Kisses Everybody (1998)

  1. T.A. Gerolami says:

    I personally loved 8 1/2 but I admit I haven’t seen it in 20 years so maybe you have a point about the self-importance. All I know is it would be nice if they still imported Italian movies over here in great numbers, though I’m not sure the Italian film industry is healthy enough to be making them in great numbers anymore. Certainly their cheapo knock-offs of our genre films are largely a thing of the past (which you can tell from the Italy tag-which includes films set in Italy, which is probably confusing-are the main non-arty Italian films I consume). I miss their nonsensical but often briefly terrifying/unsettling/even beautiful horror films, mind boggling pepulum, ragged sci-fi and over-the-top Westerns….

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