Now, before you turn off completely, let me explain it’s ITALIAN politics we’re talking about here. Italian politicians are loadsa fun. And by a strange coincidence that last sentence happens to be an anagram of ‘Ilona Staller gets her kit off’ (if you take some letters away and change a few others). Yes, as promised a long time ago (in Issue 0), I finally review a film by Cicciolina, the porn star turned Italian M.P.

Now, I have no great enthusiasm for explicit sex on the screen – even at best it’s like watching someone else eating a good meal, and most films are shot so badly as to make sex seem about as interesting as noughts and crosses by post. However, what I’d heard and seen of Cicciolina indicated, shall we say, a refreshing attitude towards it all so it was with an open mind (and a four-pack of Guinness) that I sat down to watch “Racconti Sensuale” (which I expect can be translated as ‘Erotic Tales’).

Problem one. Dubbed films, I can cope with. Subtitled films, I can cope with. What about a film in ITALIAN, dubbed into GERMAN, with DUTCH subtitles? My German is not brilliant and my Dutch non-existent, which made following the plot a little tricky. Yes, ‘plot’ – there did seem to be an attempt to justify what was going on. This involved Cicciolina writing in her diary, using an oddly-shaped Biro with a thick barrel and two lumps on one end, though she eventually puts it to another use…

Beyond this, what we got were four little scenarios linked by brief returns to Cicciolina scribbling away (each time with fewer clothes on). The first one involves nymphs and satyrs playing around in a field, at least until they get down to the serious business of playing around with Cicciolina instead. Here we see the first appearance of the Spare Man. Enthusiastic though Miss Staller’s oral sex 8technique is, even she is unable to cope with THREE men simultaneously, which means one is left waving his apparatus around in the air like a hot-dog salesman. Unfortunately, it’s always the same bloke, and you can see him gradually getting more and more miffed as his colleagues get all the fun.

The second, and probably most interesting, part is Cicciolina’s remake of “The Sound of Music”. Ok, so she doesn’t sing and there are no children or goats involved, but she is a nun, albeit of the Ken Russell variety. She and her two Sisters live a simple monastic life of praying, fondling doves and shaving. Yes, you read that correctly – shaving…

One of the less dodgy pages from ‘Les Aventures de Cicciolina’, the only comic-strip I’ve seen that could also be used as a gynaecology textbook. It’s French, naturally!

Suddenly, for no apparent reason (though this may be due as much to my lack of Dutch and/or German as any deficiencies in the film), into this peaceful religious community come three robbers. At least I assume this is what they are, since they have stocking masks over their heads, though oddly enough these have holes cut out for the mouths. The reason why they need freedom of movement for their tongues becomes obvious later on.

Instead of carrying out their original plan of stealing the candlesticks, they wisely decide to take Cicciolina instead – in a variety of imaginative ways, climaxing (if that’s not the wrong phrase) on the altar – presumably in a Catholic country like Italy, this is pretty near blasphemy. Once again, the Spare Man is left to fend for himself, though it may be a different person – it’s difficult to tell with the stocking masks on. Then Cicciolina’s co-nuns join in, and we are treated to something that looks like a nude rugby scrum.

So far, so mildly entertaining. There’s been a certain trashy value about watching an MP, even an Italian one, in such a film – there’s no real equivalent I can give; imagine perhaps Sam Fox getting elected to parliament? Anyway, the first half is shot with some panache and the music, varying between stolen classical and jangly Europop, adds to the surreal atmosphere of the whole thing.

The third scene is just nasty. Starts off O.K, with a collection of women of dubious virtue standing around some woods – Cicciolina’s costume is intriguing in itself, being little more than a few sheets of clingfilm with holes here and there. However, after a few minutes of mindless posing, the whole thing degenerates into something unpleasantly near a rape fantasy, complete with fake blood. Enough said.

After another brief interlude, something very odd happens. The next scene doesn’t have Cicciolina in it at all, taking place in a mock dungeon and featuring a variety of light bondage. It seems to have been slotted in from a completely different movie to boost the running time – as if to prove it, when this sequence is finished, they show the entire thing, frame for frame, again. Very strange. Finally, there are a few shots of Cicciolina in a similar setting – by then my attention was wandering, due in part to the Guinness, no doubt.

Overall, interesting if unerotic. The general approach seemed to be to throw every possible sexual act at the camera from bondage to ‘water sports’ via S/M, sex using most body apertures, lesbian lust, masturbation, etc and try to please everyone. However, this leaves long gaps when what’s happening on the screen is just not sexy, no matter how novel it is. It seems that Italians are heavily into buggery, which is pretty far down my list of things to do where Ms. Staller is concerned (a waste of at least two orifices!!), and provokes nothing but mild disgust. However, it had some neat moments and she does have a certain cuteness that does nothing to change my view that more MP’s like her would leave most countries in a better state!