Directed by Carmelo Bene. With Carmelo Bene, Lydia Mancinelli, Gea Marotta
Italy 1971, 35mm, b/w and color, 73 min. Italian with English subtitles
Although this Don Giovanni includes snippets of the music from Mozart’s opera of the same name, the film is not a staging of the opera but rather a radical re-working of the Don Juan legend. After a prologue that alludes to the many conquests of Don Juan, the rest of the film concentrates on a peculiar kind of love triangle, in which the mother of a young girl competes with the Don for her daughter’s attention. Bene’s Don Giovanni could be considered a “queer” film, mounting as it does a satiric attack on several of the institutions of modern sexuality: binary gender difference, the nuclear family, the machismo of male sexual prowess, and the Oedipal complex itself.