Fans of actress/model-turned-director Asia Argento will lap up “Nice to Meet You, Please Don’t Love Me!” a French-financed, English-language docu that offers an intriguing if limited view of her unconventional career and personality. Short feature from director Yves Montmayeur will be a viable broadcast item in Europe, perhaps best-served elsewhere as a DVD extra when her recent adaptation of J.T. Leroy’s “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” reaches home formats.
Her goth/punk image enhanced no end by being daughter to stylish Italian horror helmer Dario Argento, Asia mentions her father just briefly here (noting that he’s often killed off his real actress wife & children on-screen). She also says she was an abused child (without going into specifics), and casually drops “I used to be bipolar, but now I’m not; I’m OK.” There are only passing refs to her own daughter, or to her directorial debut “Scarlet Diva.” Her usual mainstream roles as “the dangerous girl, the bitch, the vampire … this sexy animal” (as in big-budget Hollywood actioner “XXX”) are dismissed as merely ways to pay the rent.
After some time spent wandering Los Angeles and staging an elaborate fashion show (which she turns into a commentary on fascism), the focus turns to the making of “Heart,” a child-abuse-apalooza in which she plays a boy’s horrifically irresponsible mother. Directing Peter Fonda, Marilyn Manson and child thesps, Argento appears a generous and fast-working helmer, though eventually the strain of playing such a grim part (she says inspirations for her interpretation were Courtney Love and serial killer Aileen Wuornos) while also overseeing production leaves her drained.
Nodding toward her father’s gory ouevre, Argento muses “In a way, I think, I do horror movies too … the horror of everyday (life).” Arguably, these behind-the-scenes glimpses are more interesting than the feature product, which suffers from the source material’s teetering pileup of grotesque incidents.
Montmayeur mirrors his subject’s edgy persona via B&W photography and jagged editing. Brief patches of Italian and French went untranslated in print reviewed.