Director: Renato Savino
Story: Renato Savino
Screenplay: Renato Savino
Cast: Gino Milli, Cristina Businari, Emilio Lo Curcio, Sarah Crespi, Marco Zuanelli, Paola Corazzi, Enrico Tricarico, Vittorio Sgorlon, Francesco Pau, Mario Cutini, Gino Barzacchi, Alicia Bruzzo, Stefania D’Addario, Renzo Rinaldi, Adolfo Schauer, Annunziata Gregori
Photography: Aiace Parolin
Music: Enrico Simonetti
Editing: Roberto Colangeli
Production: G.N. Cinematografica
Visa number and date: 68155 del 25-03-1976
I know that I’ve said the phrase ‘it’s difficult to give a plot summary for this film because… there isn’t one’, or something of the like, many times before. I must now confess, it’s not entirely true. On some occasions this is because there is simply so much plot, all of which is unrelated and knitted together in such a fashion that there seems to be nothing cohesive about it whatsoever. This would be true of most films by Demofilo Fidani, for instance. At other times, it could well be that the whole thing is so astoundingly boring that I simply can’t be bothered to elaborate upon it – as with anything by Gianni Crea, Alfonso Brescia or Derek Jarman (sorry all Jarmanites out there). Well, with I ragazzi della Roma violenta I am glad to report that, in this case, there really is no plot. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I’ve wracked my brain and I simply can’t come up with anything whatsoever.
What there is are about 85 minutes of unhesitatingly sordid events running into one another, none of which have any consequence, repercussions or prelude. They all revolve around the activities of one Marco, an ugly geek who looks something like Leo Sayer crossed with a hobgoblin (Leo Satan, perhaps?). He heads up a gang of fuckwits who seem to believe that they are neo-nazis, although what they mostly do is cruise around raping women, beating up men and making pathetic attempts to carry out robberies (that inevitably fail because they’re such a bunch of troglodytes). At one point it does look as though some kind of narrative is about to emerge – when a young girl commits suicide after becoming one of their victims – but this is promptly dropped in favour of allowing the degradation to carry on unhindered by such fripperies as character motivation. The whole thing ends in a suitably bathetic fashion when Marco drives off a cliff for no apparent reason.
I guess that this ostensibly belongs to the same subgenre of crime films – spoilt youths in too-tight sweaters running wild – as Romolo Guerrieri’s Liberi, armati, pericolosi (76), Marino Girolami’s Roma, l’altra faccia della violenza (76, see review) and Sergio Grieco’s Violence for Kicks (77). However, where it differs is that whereas these are primarily concerned with the activities of the police in attempting to capture the hideous adolescents, I ragazza doesn’t feature anything remotely resembling the law whatsoever. There is never any hint that anyone is even after the anarchistic protagonists, and if they are there’s definitely no indication that they’re ever going to capture them. The teenagers here are literally running wild, and what a sorry-complexioned and morally retarded bunch of reprobates they are.
It also has to be said that this is possibly the most extreme of its type that I have seen – and that’s saying something in the macho world of the Italian crime film. It is, basically, a catalogue of brutality – especially against women – and it really does leave you feeling in desperate need of a shower. This is heightened by the fact that there is absolutely no-one on the side of ‘good’, however warped that righteousness might be. You’re left just hoping for a Maurizio Merli to stand out of the shadows and blow the little buggers away.
I’m truly at a loss to work out what director Renato Savino was hoping to achieve with this. In some ways it could be argued that this is entirely honest in it’s obsession with ugliness, both ethical and aesthetic – a Salo of the genre. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that it was an attempt to push the sleaze values as far as they could possibly go – and he certainly succeeds in that. Unfortunately, it’s just not very good. The porn film production values and complete absence of pacing leave you bored more than uneasy. The uniformly dismal cast doesn’t help. Mario Cutini, who specialised in bottom of the drawer sleazefests such as Roberto Mauri’s The Porno Killers (80), is probably the best known performer involved. Many will also remember chubby Marco Zuanelli as ‘Wobbles’ in Once Upon a Time in the West.
Fortunately, the best thing about I ragazza is that it’s complete obscurity means that you’ll probably never have to sit through it. Thanks god for small mercies.