Here’s a new Italian giallo from a familiar face: Sotto il Vestito Niente – L’Ultima Sfilata, directed by Carlo Vanzina. Sounds familiar? Well, yes, so it might well do… way back in 1985 a certain Carlo Vanzina released a thriller called, um, Sotto il Vestito Niente, which was released internationally as Nothing Underneath. It wasn’t bad, as it goes, certainly one of the better of the late period giallos, and it was succesful enough to spawn a sequel, Sotto il vestito niente 2 (aka Too Beautiful to Die), which was directed by Dario Piana (who recently made the not bad The Deaths of Ian Stone).
In the meantime, of course, Vanzina has gone on to become one of the most bankable directors of Italian comedies around, which makes it a bit of a suprise for him to suddenly return to more dramatic fare, although perhaps it should be remembered that his dad, Stefano Vanzina, was another famed comedy filmmaker who also found the time to make the gritty cop film From the Police with Thanks, so maybe he’s just following in the family tradition of confounding expectations. Sotto il Vestito Niente – L’Ultima Sfilata is apparently a ‘reboot’ of the original film, rather than a simple remake. According to Cineurop:
“In a period of comedy intoxication, we wanted to make audiences feel something, scare them and entertain them with tools other than laughter,” says Enrico Vanzina, co-writer of the script with his brother Carlo, who directs, and Franco Ferrini, who was written films for Dario Argento.
Shot in Italy, Sweden and Switzerland, this blend of crime story-dark fairy tale-family drama interweaves three stories. The first is a police detective (the ironic Francesco Montanari, “Libanese” from the popular TV series Romanzo Criminale) investigating the mysterious death of a top model.
Then there’s a young woman (Italian-American model Vanessa Hessler) debuting in the bewitching and cruel world of fashion. Lastly, a renowned fashion designer (Richard E. Grant, of Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter) has all kinds of skeletons in his closet.
The proceedings are teeming with film references dear to the Vanzinas, from Hitchcock to Preminger, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy (“A source of inspiration” according to the director) and the crime novels of Camilla Lackberg. In fact, the film’s last scenes were shot in Fjallbacka, the Swedish setting of the writer’s novels.
Filmgoers who like a lot of blood, however, will be disappointed. “We wanted to avoid the most violent aspects”, says Carlo Vanzina. “We preferred focusing on the plot, on the mechanism of ‘Let’s try and guess who the killer is.’ Which is also why we didn’t include a love story.”
“The first Sotto il vestito niente was a supernatural thriller, a la Brian De Palma”, adds Ferrini. “This film is more realistic, more mature, more European”.
Sotto il Vestito Niente – L’Ultima Sfilata opened on 350 screens, but didn’t do hugely well, making just over €360,000, and it’s now showing on about 130 screens, which is quite a drop. Whatever the case, it sounds interesting, and there’s a neat cast (I can just see Richard E. Grant becoming a new millenial version of Donald Pleasence, popping up in weird films all over the place, not really acting but always being a welcome, hammy presence)
Here’s the trailer (Italian only)