• Stay As You Are



    Released by: Cult Epics
    Released on: May 12th, 2015.
    Director: Alberto Lattuada
    Cast: Nastassja Kinski, Marcello Mastroianni
    Year: 1978
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Alberto Lattuada, 1978’s Stay As You Are stars the beautiful Nastassja Kinski as a young woman named Francesca. She resides in Florence, Italy with her roommate Cecilia (Anna Pieroni). One day, seemingly completely by chance, Francesca meets a man named Giulio (Marcello Mastroianni). He’s an architect, visiting from his home in Rome, and while he’s married, this doesn’t stop him from flirting with her. At first, she rejects his advances but after a while, she starts to warm to him.

    As they get to know one another, he tells her about his life back in Rome. He and his wife have lost the spark in their marriage ever since his daughter got pregnant and he seems more than a little confused by the cavalier attitude of the younger generation when it comes to matters of romance. He confesses that he’s attracted to Francesca because she brings back fond memories of a former lover he had years ago, now passed on. Things get complicated when Giulio starts to wonder if Francesca might not be his own daughter, a child he fathered with the woman who has since died and to whom this young lady bears such a strong resemblance.

    Remarkably well acted by the two leads, Stay As You Are is an interesting mix of drama and sexploitation all wrapped up quite nicely in some Italian style arthouse trappings. It’s quite a beautiful looking film, the cinematography does an excellent job of capturing the locations and it makes Florence out to be quite an interesting place for an unorthodox romance such as this to take place. Camera movements in the film are typically well framed and quite smooth, which gives all of this a much classier sheen than you might expect given its rather taboo subject matter.

    The main draw here, for most viewers, will be Nastassja Kinski. She’s quite stunning here, playing her character with enough naivety to make it work but not so much that she comes across as unaware or out of touch. Lattuada and company go the extra mile here to ensure that any time she’s in front of the camera she’s beautifully shot and lit. This is, no doubt, to ensure that the audience falls for her as hard as Giulio himself. Marcello Mastroianni also does remarkable work as the male lead. His character is, by his own admission, a whore. He’s unfaithful to his wife and a lousy father to the daughter he’s left in Rome and he seems pretty much completely unrepentant about his faults and his flaws. The fact that, despite all this, we care enough about him to want to see how this drama and this new relationship unfolds is all due to Mastroianni’s performance. The supporting effort from Anna Pieroni is interesting to see as well, as obviously she’d go on to star in a few Italian horror classics, but the movie belongs to Kinski and Mastroianni.

    Alberto Lattuada paces the movie well enough that it never feels slow. He’s also not afraid to ramp up the sexual tension in the last half of the film, leaving very little to the imagination. Ennio Morricone’s evocative score accents all of this quite well and while Stay As You Are may deal in a subject matter some will (and should) find uncomfortable, the fact that it is as well made as it is supersedes all of that. This is a very well made film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Stay As You Are debuts on Blu-ray from Cult Epics in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.78.1 but be forewarned that this is basically an upscale of an SD source. Cult Epics couldn’t find better elements to work with, unfortunately, and until better elements are found this is likely the best that we’re going to get. How does it look? Well it’s more than watchable but there’s a bit of print damage and some shimmering throughout. Edge enhancement is also fairly obvious. Colors are reproduced reasonably well and black levels are okay if never reference quality. This is far from an abomination, but it is what it is.

    Italian and English language options are provided for the movie, both in Dolby Digital 2.0. Optional subtitles are provided for the Italian track. A lossless option would have been ideal but that didn’t happen. Clarity of the English track is okay, the Italian track as well. Morricone’s score sounds decent enough.

    The main extra on the disc is the inclusion of Ennio Morricone’s score, available to play one track at a time off of the disc’s menu. Additionally we get a trailer for the feature, a trailer for Tinto Brass’ Black Angel, menus and chapter selection. The disc comes in a cardboard slipcase featuring a less risqué version of the cover art featured on the Blu-ray case itself.

    The Final Word:

    Stay As You Are is pretty unorthodox as far as ‘sexy dramas’ go but Kinski and Mastroianni both deliver strong work in their respective roles and the cinematography and art direction are excellent. The story has enough oddities contained within to keep things interesting and while Cult Epics’ Blu-ray isn’t going to blow you away with a sparkling HD transfer, it’s currently the best option available for this engaging slice of arthouse weirdness.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!