It probably sums up much of the difference between Italy and Britain that, in the recent general elections, candidates here included a terminally wet Olympic champion and a TV presenter whose jumpers are more interesting than he is, while Italy not only had Mussolini’s grand-daughter (fascist, but cute!), but also a serious challenge from the twin queens of Italian pornography, Ilona Staller (a.k.a. La Cicciolina) and Moana Pozzi.
Cicciolina was born in Budapest, the daughter of an official in the Ministry of the Interior and a midwife. Even in her teenage days, she was already a model with Hungary’s top agency, but her course towards international stardom really took off when she moved to Italy. There, she became host of a talk show called ‘Radio Luna’, which caused a national scandal with it’s “frank” approach, though this was nothing compared to her TV appearance in 1978, when her breasts became the first (of many) to be seen bared on Italian TV.
It was the following year that she entered politics, and her fame spread outside Italy, thanks to the international coverage of her campaigns, and her habit of pulling a crowd by shrugging herself out of whatever strapless dress she happened to be barely wearing. In a turn-up that warmed the hearts of all those who view politics as hell, she was elected the election before last, and the next time I saw her was on Jonathan Ross’s show, complete with an interpreter and a soft toy, repeating the dress-shrugging trick on national TV.
Odd corners of the British media have reported on Ilona’s progress since, but the stories were never the same twice. She went to the event marking the departure of the first (or was it the last?) Russian tanks from Hungary (Czechoslovakia?), and released a symbolic bird (of some species or other). About the only fact the accounts gleefully agreed on, was that a tank rapidly reduced the creature to a feathered, bloody pancake. It all adds to the myth that is Cicciolina, a myth that has seen her barred from the States as “undesirable”, the subject of a top 30 record in Britain – I treasure the memory of several hundred PWEI fans sweeping onto a Northern Line train, chanting ‘Cicciolina, Cicciolina, C-C-C-Cicciolina’ – and the centre of an enormous industry in Italy: books, comics and magazines, from the explicit to, well, the even more explicit.
Then there was her relationship with pop artist Jeff Koons – double life- size sculptures of him and Cicciolina making love (Koons’ “blue period”?), flanked by enormous photographic studies of the pair, were exhibited at such illustrious shows as the Venice Bienalle. The couple married and claimed – life imitating art imitating life – to make love seven times a day, interspersed with breaks to watch ‘Bambi’. But Jeff wanted her to give up the more public expressions of her sexuality (such as the bits involving pythons), and Ilona was having none of it: “Cicciolina belongs to the nation”, she declared. So, amid a frenzied blast of media hype, it all ended. Or did it? They were breaking up. Then they’d got back together. Then they were splitting again. Then they were trying for a baby, and lo, she was pregnant. Then she wasn’t.
Moana Pozzi is the lesser known of the two, at least internationally, but she was given the lead position on the Partito dell’ Amore (‘Party of Love’) ticket after Cicciolina’s on-off marriage and pregnancy initially ruled her out. Moana was born in Genoa in 1960, the daughter of a nuclear physicist, from a well-off, Catholic family – at least reputedly, as biographical details for both her and Cicciolina are seen through a haze of disinformation. But they’re not really important!
Like Cicciolina, she possesses a charisma capable of charming support out of the most unlikely places, including Umberto Eco, author of ‘The Name of the Rose’, and also a a reporter from a respectable British Sunday paper, who found her “pleasant, amusing, articulate and highly intelligent”, none of which are traits normally associated with the porn industry, In addition, she is also undeniably cute, an improvement on Ms.Staller whom no-one could really describe as a classic beauty.
“People are looking at us, to start with I am sure, because our approach is different and stimulating, and then they get interested because they like what we have to say”, said Moana, and her campaign meetings certainly sound more interesting than Neil Kinnock or John Major sitting behind a desk, wittering on about interest rates. “I sing a little bit, then I do a strip and an erotic dance…then I address the audience, I talk politics. I take a question-and-answer session and promote the party …The audiences love it, we can never get enough of them in through the door”. Should someone at the Beeb decide, in a moment of madness, to screen this sort of thing, I imagine it would get far better ratings than any British party conference.
Unfortunately, neither candidate made it to parliament in the election earlier this year. Though this might have seemed wise given the current state of the Italian economy, one wonders what might have happened – perhaps the Lira wouldn’t have nose-dived, maybe the country’s credit rating wouldn’t have been slashed, had Moana ‘n’ Ilona been there. Sex-as-political-statement may have last been popular in the 60’s, but whether in parliament or out of it, Staller and Pozzi are doing their damnedest to keep the Summer of Love alive – and their way is far more fun than anything involving wimpy designer drugs and crap haircuts!
Moana Pozzi filmography
* = porn, + = with Cicciolina
- 1981 La Compagna di Viaggio
Delitto Carnale(soft-core version of a porn movie)
Valentina Ragazza in Calore *
Erotic Flash *a.k.a. Erotica Flasha
Viva La Foca
Moana La Pantera Blonda (soft-core, porn added later)
- 1982 Borotalco
Vieni Avanti Cretino
- 1983 La Vita Continua
Vacanze di Natale
- 1984 Dagobert
A Tu Per Tu
- 1985 Ginger E Fred (Fellini!)
- 1986 Fantastica Moana *
- 1987 Moana, La Bella Di Giorno *
Moana La Scandalosa *
- 1988 Provocazione
Diva Futura L’Avventura Nell’Amore + (and directed by C.)
Una Calda Femina Da Letto *
- 1989 Ecstacy
Super Vogliose Di Maschi * +
Senza Respiro * + (porn footage collection)
Inside Napoli *
Vogliose Ed Insaziabili Per Stalloni Superdotati * +
I Vizi Transessuali di Moana *
Moana, I Trans E La Tettona *
- 1990 Cicciolina E Moana Ai Mondiali * +
Le Calde Labra Bagnate Di Moana *
Malibu Gorilla *
La Casa Del Piacere *
Moana L’Insaziabile *
- 1991 Le Donne Di Mandingo * +
Tutte Le Provocazione Di Moana *
La Professoressa Di Leziona Anali *
Sole E Sesso A Malibu *
Una Signora Per Bene *
Sotto Il Vestito Nienti * (No relation with the Carlo Vanzina giallo)
Buco Profondo *
This filmog should be pretty complete and correct. The only problem is that a bunch of movie have been released for selling in news-stands, and often titles are created just to fool people who get an old movie under a new title. Also available are soft version of her porn movies and compilations of sex scenes mixed with those of other Italian porn stars such as Cicciolina, Miss Pomodoro, Lilli Carati, Karine Schubert, etc.
Max Della Mora
Bedtime Stories (A. Van Dike & J.Matheus)
Ilona Staller, Patricia Basso, Giancarlo Marinangeli (MIA, £9.79)
It’s kinda surprising it’s taken so long for anyone to attempt to release any of Cicciolina’s movies in this country. Although some of her films were available before she became famous i.e. Yellow Emmanuelle, there’s only one currently available – by coincidence, it was released as the above piece was being researched, so it seemed like a good idea to review it!
Accompanied by some of the worst music I’ve heard – ever, anywhere – it has Cicciolina as a talk show host with the radio equivalent of an 0898 service. One of her listeners, Ricky, meets her and, in the words of the blurb, “they embark on a series of sensual, erotic adventures in an attempt to work out what really turns them on”. Or, put another way, see Cicciolina rolling in mud. See Cicciolina walking mostly naked through Rome. See Cicciolina sing. Apologies if this review is beginning to sound like a Dick and Jane reader.
The film doesn’t actually look that cut, though it has an annoying tendency for scenes to end just as they get interesting (on the other hand, this did mean my low boredom threshold for porn was never breached). I assume it was originally created as soft-core, and appears to be spliced together footage from different movies (and different eras, as Cicciolina’s “look” jumps wildly about), with linking scenes to give the semblance of a plot. But the absence of much coherent narrative works in it’s favour, giving it a dreamlike quality, and it has some amusing moments, for example the population’s reaction to her Rome walk, and an inventive use of marmalade.
Pity the release is rather shoddy, managing to mis-spell her name, both on the box and in the credits. The sound quality is bad enough to make the dialogue frequently inaudible and the pan-and-scanning is annoying, though I suppose letterboxed Ilona Staller would be too much to hope for! Still, what with the additional novelty in the concept of an English language Cicciolina film, it kept me interested for 84 minutes and somewhat against my will, I found myself actually liking this Europorn version of ‘Pump Up the Volume’. C+.