×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viol@

While many Italian filmmakers tend to shy away from truly contemporary themes , first-time director Donatella Maiorca at least merits acknowledgment for taking risks with the cybersex odyssey "Viol@." But while the modestly budgeted pic is slickly put together, it lacks the style and wit to sell this tale of a hard-core virtual relationship that spins out of control. Despite the efforts of lead actress Stefania Rocca to bring edge and substance to the drama, it remains about as weighty as your average online sex banter.

With:
Viola ..... Stefania Rocca Lorenzo ..... Stefano Rota Voice of Mittler ..... Ennio Fantastichini

While many Italian filmmakers tend to shy away from truly contemporary themes , first-time director Donatella Maiorca at least merits acknowledgment for taking risks with the cybersex odyssey “Viol@.” But while the modestly budgeted pic is slickly put together, it lacks the style and wit to sell this tale of a hard-core virtual relationship that spins out of control. Despite the efforts of lead actress Stefania Rocca to bring edge and substance to the drama, it remains about as weighty as your average online sex banter.

Indie producers Donatella Palermo and Loes Kamsteeg, who scored a minor hit last season with the Mafia musical “Tano da morire,” by another debuting distaff helmer, Roberta Torre, this time look unlikely to earn much critical support. But “Viol@” may score some sales in Euro territories and on video as pseudo-intellectual erotica.

Viola (Rocca) works for a big brother–type research company, conducting interviews and collating data on sleep, insomnia, dreams and secret desires. Shaking off the dust of an unsatisfying relationship, she starts browsing out of curiosity in a sex Website and, before long, is refining her masturbation techniques with a Goethe-quoting partner (voiced by Ennio Fantastichini), who identifies himself as Mittler.

Emboldened by the anonymity of the situation, Viola responds with increasing fervor, exchanging sexual tokens and faceless, naked photographs through a post box. She soon becomes obsessed with her online lover, neglecting her work and playing progressively more audacious sex games under Mittler’s guidance. But their tryst is threatened when he pushes her to seduce Lorenzo (Stefano Rota), a workman doing maintenance on her apartment. When a real relationship develops, Mittler becomes jealous and demanding, invading Viola’s private life and forcing her to track him down.

While scriptwriter Fabrizio Bettelli touches on requisite themes such as the barriers for human contact in a depersonalized society, and attempts to add complexity through the subconscious-desire strand, this is basically just techno-titillation dressed up as something smarter. The final act’s revelation is more amusing than dramatic, while the sex scenes and frequent nudity seem self-conscious and unerotic.

After playing the cyberbabe in Gabriele Salvatores’ “Nirvana,” Rocca appears to be cornering the Italian market in extreme roles. But her raw performance struggles to register in this flimsy context.

Viol@

Italy

Production: A Medusa Film release (in Italy) of an ASP/Dania Film/VIP Media production. (International sales: Filmexport Group, Rome.) Produced by Donatella Palermo, Loes Kamsteeg. Directed by Donatella Maiorca. Screenplay, Fabrizio Bettelli; story, Claudio Antonini.

Crew: Camera (color), Marcello Montarsi; editor, Ugo De Rossi, Patrizio Marone; music, RestArt (Isabella Colliva, Cinzia Donti); production designer, Beatrice Scarpato; costume designer, Annmarie Heinrich; sound (Dolby SR), Glauco Puletti, Mauro Lazzaro; special computer effects, Loreto Papalia; assistant director, Matteo Rolla. Reviewed at Anica screening room, Rome, Aug. 28, 1998. (In Venice Film Festival --- Perspectives.) Running time: 85 MIN.

With: Viola ..... Stefania Rocca Lorenzo ..... Stefano Rota Voice of Mittler ..... Ennio FantastichiniWith: Rossana Mortara, Rolando Ravello, Maddalena Crippa.

More Film

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

  • Queen + Adam Lambert perform at

    Queen to Perform at Oscars

    Queen will perform at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, the Motion Picture Academy announced on social media today. The move, which is not completely a surprise, comes in the wake of the blockbuster success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biopic about the band and its late singer, Freddie Mercury. The band now performs under the [...]

  • Richard E. Grant Variety Facetime Interview

    Richard E. Grant on How to Survive Awards Season With Flair

    An Oscar would certainly be nice, but Richard E. Grant doesn’t need a golden statue to walk away from this awards season as a winner. The 61-year-old actor landed his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Jack Hock, the loyal accomplice of author-turned-literary forager Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) in the biopic “Can You [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    'Alita: Battle Angel' Banks on Foreign Audiences to Save It From Box Office Disaster

    “Alita: Battle Angel” beat expectations with its $27 million debut at the domestic box office, but Fox’s cyberpunk fantasy adventure has a long road to travel before it can claim victory. When it comes to achieving profitability, the CGI-spectacular may never arrive at that particular destination. With a production budget hovering at $170 million (Fox [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content