Poco più di un anno fa
review by Gregory Avery,7 May2004

During the opening scenes of the Italian film Adored, we are introduced to Riki Kandinsky (played by Marco Filiberti), who seems hued in gold -- old eyes, gold hair, gold skin. Riki brings to mind the unabashedly sensual look that exists in photos of Nijinsky as the Faun, or that Helmut Berger had during the period when he was in Visconti's films and the 1970 Dorian Gray, only Riki does not have the cloying narcissistic quality that Berger also had as well.

Riki is a successful and popular adult film actor, and he certainly seems to be enjoying it. When his older brother Federico (Urbano Barberini) comes to Rome on business after the death of their father, Federico has no idea that Riki is not only doing porno films, he's in porno films where he does scenes with other men. While on the set of his latest film, Riki, working away on someone or other, looks at the camera, as if catching sight of us catching sight of him -- and winks.

And this is in a country where a young prostitute, in the 1993 documentary Boys from Brazil, said that the whole place would suddenly descend into a "porno sexo guerra" if it were suddenly deprived of all its prostitutes. (I doubt that Italy would be the only place where that would happen, if it happened.) Marco Filiberti also directed and wrote Adored (this is his first feature film, after working on the stage and as a music recording artist, and the film has a credit for "screenplay revision" to Italo Moscati), however, after presenting us with the character of Riki, the film never gets as wild or exotic as we would be led to expect. I certainly didn't expect it to become, of all things, mushy. After the initial shock wears off, Federico finds out that Riki's friends---including Luna (Rosalinda Celentano), an artist who only makes sculptures of angels (and, with her turquoise eye shadow and vinyl outfits, Celentano looks like how Lisa Kudrow might've looked if she got into films after going through the bohemian set of Swinging Sixties London), and Claudio (Claudio Vanni), who is apparently supposed to be Riki's lover (it's never entirely clear in the film)---and the people he works with on movie sets are pretty much regular folks just like anyone else, and soon Federico is announcing how meaningless his previous life had been.

Then there is the young boy that Riki rescues after the boy's mother perishes in a street accident. The boy awakens genuine, and previously unexpected, paternal feelings in Riki; not only that, the fact that Riki is gay and makes adult films is perfectly alright as far as the boy is concerned. Alas, that's not how the boy's relatives see it, and an attendantly ugly custody battle ensues.

Adored opens with a prologue set 16 years after the main events of the story have taken place (during the year 1999)---a documentary crew is looking for information about Riki, and Federico, at the family chateau in France, leafs through some of Riki's handwritten journal pages. What all this leads up to is an attempt to turn Riki into -- or at least make the case for him being -- some sort of a martyr and/or victim. The only things is that the film doesn't really provide a reason for him being one. Riki may be enjoying his status as a sex symbol (or, “porno divo”), but he doesn't seem to have any illusions about himself, so he probably wouldn't buy what the film tries to do with him any more than we would, nor would he expect us to. In other words, Filiberti gives us a good portrayal of Riki in Adored, but he probably could have done with having someone else shape a better film around it -- Riki is a glittering creature, one who seems to know the score and is waiting to see if the rest of us will catch up.

Directed by:
Marco Filiberti

Marco Filiberti
Urbano Barberini
Rosalinda Celentano
Claudio Vanni
 Erica Blanc
Edoardo Minciotti

NR - Not Rated.
This film has not
been rated.






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