• To Be Twenty



    Released by: Raro Video

    Released on: August 16, 2011

    Director: Fernando Di Leo

    Cast: Gloria Guida, Lili Carati, Ray Lovelock

    Year: 1978

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    The Movie:


    Fernando Di Leo’s bizarre sex comedy/horror movie hybrid To Be Twenty follows the exploits of two young ladies, Lia (Gloria Guida) and Tina (Lilly Carati), who decide to kill a summer by getting out and exploring the countryside. They hitchhike their way through remote stretches of Italy hoping to eventually make it to Rome, but wind up stopping for some time at a hippy flophouse on the way. It’s here that they meet a man named Rico (Ray Lovelock) – their chemistry is instant. Things aren’t quite perfect, however, as the girls are not only running out of money (and as such going to have to find a way to raise some) but also hanging out with a bit of a bad crowd, the kind of crowd that the cops don’t look too kindly on.


    Before moving and further with this, let’s make mention of the fact that there are two extremely different versions of this movie (both cuts are included in this two disc set from Raro). The cut that made it to North America is fairly cheery movie, a playful film about a pair of hot chicks making their way across the country getting fresh with some of the guys while still finding time to spend a little girl on girl alone time with each other too. That severely edited version is very light, silly, and devoid of much in the way of any sort of lasting impact. The full strength cut, however, which wasn’t readily available outside of Italy, is a different story all together. Di Leo takes us on a very different trip in the last third of the film. Additionally, the sex in the uncut version is stronger and a bit more envelope pushing (after watching this you won’t be so surprised to learn that Carati went on to a short career in Italian porno!) and a different, far less whimsical score. It’s really the ending that is the biggest difference, however and it’s easy to see how this one wound up shocking audiences in its day as it still packs a very heavy punch even by modern standards.


    What at first seems an exercise in free love and experimental drug use soon turns out to be a voyage of consequence, and To Be Twenty almost plays out like a cautionary tale. It’s far from sexist, despite its exploitative elements and tendency to put our nubile young heroines front and center in various states of undress, as it makes sure that we like the two characters enough to care about what happens to them. By successfully making sure that our sympathies lie with these two girls, Hell bent on losing as much of their innocence as they can as quickly as they can, Di Leo makes sure we pick up on the actions of the cops, the actions of the hippies and the gang members and fully realize who is putting the screws to who here.


    A fairly pointed jab as the free love movement, the film does moralize and the film does play slightly right of center with its politics at times but the end result is much more of a tragedy than anything else and if fingers are to be pointed, most of them are towards the flaws of a sexist, male dominated society.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    The anamorphic widescreen 1.85.1 transfer on this release appears to be identical to the Italian DVD that Raro released a few years back, which means its good if a little bit behind the times and periodically more than a little bit soft. Colors look nice, print damage isn’t really a problem and black levels are okay but for a few scenes where some compression artifacts and shadow detail issues creep in. Overall though, if it could have looked a bit better the good definitely outweighs the bad.


    Dolby Digital Mono tracks are included for the uncut Italian version in Italian only with optional English subtitles and for the alternate version in English. The mono tracks aren’t particularly exciting but they get the job done without any issues. The subtitles are free of typos and are easy to read while the audio levels remain balanced and allow only minimal hiss and distortion in here and there.


    The biggest and best of the extras is a half hour long featurette entitled Twenty Years For A Massacre. Originally included on that aforementioned Italian release without any English subtitles (not so on this domestic release, thankfully), it’s basically a sit down chat with the late Di Leo who speaks quite fondly about this film and about some of the controversies that surrounded it. He’s not so fond, however, of the re-edited cut of the movie but it’s interesting to get his take on all of this.


    Rounding out the extras are a filmography for Di Leo, a still gallery, menus and chapter stops. Inside the disc is a full color booklet of liner notes from Mondo Digital’s Nathanial Thompson who adds some welcome historical perspective to the film and details the two different versions of the film included in this set.


    The Final Word:


    While the re-edited version of the movie is fairly useless, its inclusion here helps to make the uncut version of To Be Twenty all the more interesting and unusual. Raro’s transfers are decent enough and the inclusion of the subtitled featurette helps to provide the necessary context with which to fully appreciate this film, one of Di Leo’s more unusual offerings.


























    Comments 1 Comment
    1. george n's Avatar
      george n -
      I might take the plunge with this as its unlikely it will come out on blu ray at a later point