Non commettere atti impuri [Don't Commit Impure Deeds] (1971) April 15, 2019 08:00
Non commettere atti impuri (Don't Commit Impure Deeds) is a film that tries to be a commentary on society while exploring the emotional roller coaster of a young man in love, all under the guise of a "comedy". But attempting to conquer those subjects one on one is a large enough endeavor; trying to take them on at the same time, in a semi campy fashion, simply doesn't bode well.
Dado Crostarosa plays Pino a guy in his late teens to early twenties who appears to be the only bread winner in his family. He spends his days painting flowers on plates that a local gift shop sells to tourists, meanwhile his father Damiano (Luciano Salce) spends his days spreading communist propaganda with the local rebellion. Left alone with Pino is his father's live-in girlfriend, the overly flirtatious Nadin (Barbara Bouchet), a French exchange student on an overdue visa. Her constant flirtatious behaviors or half naked parading around are a constant reminder to Pino what his life is lacking.
While Nadin is definitely hot, she doesn't ignite his heart like Maria Teresa (Simonetta Stefanelli), the Catholic school girl next door whose frequently sitting on the porch outside his room attempting to learn Latin. Maria lives with her mother and grandmother, all three are extremely religious and look down upon Pino's father and Nadin's relationship, especially since Daminao is still techically married, but they seem to have a real interest in Pino. Her mother is excited that Pino has agreed to assist Maria in her Latin studies, and they use the opportunity to try and persuade him to visit the local Priest and become baptized.
Pino has little interest in religion but Maria makes it clear that she can only be in a relationship with someone who shares her beliefs. Eventually his feelings towards her become so strong he agrees to talk to Padre Spiridone, who puts him through a lengthy course of repetitious phrases and procedures. All seems to be going well until Maria's uncle Giacomo (Claudio Gora) comes to visit and the overall mood drastically changes. Giacomo seems overly threaten by Pino's presence, correcting his tutoring methods and eventually forcibly taking over the teaching of Maria. Maria's mom is no longer happy to see Pino, and tension grows as it's clear Giacomo has some perverted hold over the family.
As Pino begins to dive into a pit of depression, he turns to his father for some comfort, but Damiano doesn't know how to be a father, he instead takes Pino to one of his radical political group meetings and introduces him as his younger brother. At the meeting Pino gets roped into carrying a home made (non-lethal) bomb that he's supposed to drop off at a certain location the next day to send a message to a visiting politician. Instead he follows Maria and her uncle and shockingly discovers what's going on with Giacomo and the twisted situation Maria and her family are in.
While Non commettere atti impuri pokes a lot at the hypocrisy those many who claim to be religious (in this case Catholics) the film presents the very flawed nature of all the characters who often come off as very self indulgent, even Pino. While the film has enough going for it to keep in mildly entertaining, the story never seems to progress much until the final thirty minutes where the writers get tired of playing cat and mouse with the characters and simply unleash the proverbial mayhem.
Barbara Bouchet is once again used as advertising bait. Prior to watching this film I always thought from the posters and majority of stills that it revolved around the main character being smitten with her, yet in reality she's used more as a random distraction throughout the film to hold viewers attention. It's not until the final scene, after Pino is completely fed up with everything his been through, that he makes a move on Nadin. If Non commettere atti impuri is remembered for anything that's likely that final scene.
Overall, the ultimate problem with Non commettere atti impuri is that the story isn't that interesting. Maria as the main love interest is bland, especially when prancing around Pino's house all day is Nadin who is not only the most beautiful girl in the film but also has the most personality of all the characters. It was a missed opportunity to not have the film revolve around Pino falling for her, keep the father as a nutcase revolutionist and maybe throw Maria in as Pino's jealous plain girlfriend; a storyline such a this would have presented the film with a lot more comedic opportunities, Barbara Bouchet would have more screen-time and the film would have been greatly improved. Instead the film tries to tackle too much while at the same time focusing on the least interesting characters, leaving you not caring about anyone.