Sardinian helmer Salvatore Mereu, who directed the wonderfully observant, regionally flavored “Three-Step Dance” and “Sonetaula,” drops the ball hard in “Bellas mariposas.” Except as maybe an audiovisual cheat sheet for everything that become undone in Italy after years of Berlusconi’s reign — including such fundamentals as morals, good taste and intelligence — this bafflingly mannered story shows how ordinary folk, including young teenage girls, are ruled by their sexual appetites, desire to procrastinate and expectation to receive money without working for it. Beyond local play burn the fires of ancillary hell.
Cate (Sara Podda), who frequently addresses the camera, noting the time, comes from a large nest of siblings that includes a prostitute sister (Silvia Coni) with two infants, and a gun-toting, big-dicked brother (Simone Paris). Her father (Luciano Curreli) sleeps with everything that has at least two breasts, and lives off a disability pension, though he’s not disabled. Story follows Cate and her BFF (Maya Mulas) for one day, with activities including swimming, eating ice cream and biting off the member of someone who pays them for fellatio. Assembly’s more refined than the characters.