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Gasoline

Playing like a moribund hybrid of "Thelma and Louise" and "The Trouble With Harry," lesbian-themed thriller "Gasoline" lacks sex drive. U.S. distrib Strand Releasing will get modest mileage from this low-octane item at specialty fests and in urban arthouses, with much the same niche success in ancillary long haul.

Playing like a moribund hybrid of “Thelma and Louise” and “The Trouble With Harry,” lesbian-themed thriller “Gasoline” lacks sex drive. U.S. distrib Strand Releasing will get modest mileage from this low-octane item at specialty fests and in urban arthouses, with much the same niche success in ancillary long haul.

Provocative set-up finds a fussy floozy (Mariella Valentini) confronting timid daughter Lenni (Regina Orioli) at the grubby Italian filling station where the runaway lives and works with tight-lipped grease monkey lover Stella (Maya Sansa). Mom’s sudden, accidental death and appearance of two hostile young joyriders and distaff videographer they share prompts pair to hightail it with mom’s corpse in the trunk. Pic slows down considerably, as duo drops body in a dump, plays cat-and-mouse with pursuers, recovers mom, returns to the station and participates in the combustible climax. Helmer Monica Lisa Stambrini has a good eye for detail, and clearly believes in the material, though sluggish ride would improve considerably if she’d get the lead out of the pace. Tech credits are purposefully grungy, set to Massimo Zamboni’s twangy score. English title on print caught was simply “Gas.”

Gasoline

Benzina Italy

Production: A Strand release (in U.S.) of a Galliano Iuso presentation of a Digital Film production. (International sales: IntraMovies, Rome.) Produced by Galliano Iuso. Directed by Monica Lisa Stambrini. Screenplay, Stambrini, Elena Stancanelli, AnneRitte Ciccone, from the novel by Stananelli.

Crew: Camera (color, 35mm/DV), Fabio Cianchetti; editor, Paola Freddi; music, Massimo Zamboni. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 2002. Running time: 88 MIN. With: Maya Sansa, Regina Orioli, Mariella Valentini, Luigi Maria Burruano, Chiara Conti, Marco Quaglia, Pietro Ragusa.

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