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Briganti – Amore e libertà (1990)

Briganti – Amore e libertà (Bandits – Love and Liberty) is probably another made for TV film as some sources actually refer to La riffa as her first major film role.  I also happens to be another film I was only able to locate in Italian without subtitles.  The story takes place in 1838 Naples where a bandit named Caruso is shot and killed by one of Baron San Germano's trusted men who finds Caruso in the middle of love making in one of the Baron's barns.  The woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy named Giovanni, she becomes the nurse of the the Baron's orphaned niece Costanza.  Thirteen years later Giovanni and Costanza are discovered making out in the courtyard in the middle of the night, enraged the Baron sends Costanza to a convent and Giovanni to his death.

Giovanni is able to escape his fate and spends the next many years fending for himself, eventually joining a group of bandits or rebels.  Monica Bellucci plays the grow up Costanza entering the convent as a rather bland looking teenager and coming out a goddess!  (Those nuns have some sort of magic!)  Costanza returns home to find her uncle recently deceased, and quickly becomes the desire of many of the men in the town (no surprise there).  

Giovanni returns to take her away but she turns him down informing him of her desire to become a nun, instead she ends up marrying a weaselly looking, wealthy, old guy whom she's obviously not happy with, (probably due to blackmail or some sense of personal obligation).  Still her bandit suitor refuses to give up that easily, and invests the help of his gang as they kidnap Costanza while she's traveling with her husband.  She puts up a fight at first but eventually gives into her childhood crush.

There's really not a whole lot to comment on regarding Briganti.  At only about 90 minutes Briganti was much easier to sit through than a three hour mini-series completely in Italian.  Still Vita coi figli managed to have a pretty interesting story-line that did a decent job of keeping my attention.  Briganti story is extremely simple which made the language barrier fairly easy to overcome, but still you're left with an overly recycled upper vs lower class love story; an Italian version of Romeo and Juliet without the tragic ending.  It's a film I imagine only gets limited attention due to the sole fact that Monica Bellucci is in it, and like Vita coi figli  Bellucci doesn't make an appearance until midway through the film, after the character history has been established with a young Costanza (who by the way is a poor young Bellucci casting choice).  For fans I'd gather this is another one that definitely won't disappoint, how could Monica Bellucci in a corset not?


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