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Commedia sexy all'italiana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Laura Antonelli in one of the commedia sexy's most iconic scenes, from The Naked Cello (1971)

The commedia sexy all'italiana (pronounced [komˈmɛːdjaˈsɛksiallitaˈljaːna], lit. "sex comedy Italian style"), also known as commedia scollacciata ("low-cut comedy") or commedia erotica all'italiana, is a subgenre of the Italian commedia all'italiana film genre.

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Commedia sexy is characterized typically by both abundant female nudity and comedy, and by the minimal weight given to social criticism that was the basic ingredient of the main commedia all'italiana genre.[1] Stories are often set in affluent environments such as wealthy households. It is closely connected to the sexual revolution, and it was something extremely new and innovative for that period. For the first time, films with female nudity could be watched at the cinema. Pornography and scenes of explicit sex were still forbidden in Italian cinemas, but partial nudity was somewhat tolerated. The genre has been described as a cross between bawdy comedy and humorous erotic film with ample slapstick elements which follows more or less clichéd storylines.



This subgenre has its roots in several different series of films. The mondo film genre popularized nudity, shifting the limits of what could be shown in the Italian cinema. A series of successful commedia all'italiana of the sixties (such as Pietro Germi's Signore & Signori (1966) and Dino Risi's Vedo nudo (1969)) focused on Italian hypocrisy and shame about sexual taboos, popularizing sex-based plots.

Main era

The commedia sexy was very successful commercially between the 1970s and early 1980s, although it was generally panned by critics (with a few exceptions such as several comedies starring Lando Buzzanca), and then declined when female nudity became common in Italian mainstream cinema, television and magazines, and when pornographic films became more widely available.[1]

The decamerotici (1971–1975)

Pier Paolo Pasolini's Trilogy of Life (consisting of The Decameron (1971), Canterbury Tales (1972) and Arabian Nights (1974), and inspired by the tales of Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and the One Thousand and One Nights) contained nudity and sex-based plots. The success of these films and the relaxation of Italian censors, beginning from the early 1970s, paved the way for dozens of soft-core productions set in medieval or Renaissance times, collectively known as decamerotici (singular: decamerotico; alternative terms include decameronico and decamerone, as well as boccaccesco).[1][2][3][4] The wave of decamerotici lasted from 1971 (starting with In Love, Every Pleasure Has Its Pain) until the end of 1975, with an early peak in 1972.[5] In total, about 50 decamerotici were produced.[6]


Gloria Guida, one of the commedia sexy's icons, here in La liceale (1975), a title from the "high school comedy" subgenre.

Other very popular subgenres (Italian: sottofiloni) of the commedia sexy all'italiana included high school (Italian: scolastica), military (Italian: militare), hospital (Italian: ospedaliera), police (Italian: poliziottesca)[7] and family comedies (Italian: familiare).


The commedia sexy launched the careers of several actresses, including Edwige Fenech, commonly considered the quintessential star of the genre; María Baxa and Gloria Guida, the staple lead actress of coming-of-age films and the popular La liceale series in the mid-1970s; and Nadia Cassini who was promoted as a successor to Fenech in the late 1970s. Many actresses who had gained earlier success in other genres moved to commedia sexy and became well known within the genre, such as Femi Benussi in the mid-1970s and Barbara Bouchet in the late 1970s. The glamour models Anna Maria Rizzoli and Carmen Russo also followed this route in the early 1980s, a period when the genre was starting to fade in popularity.

The genre is also identified with a number of prominent male comedians and actors, including Lando Buzzanca, Lino Banfi, Carlo Giuffrè, Alberto Lionello, Pippo Franco, Alvaro Vitali, and Renzo Montagnani.[1][2]

Selected filmography

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Peter E. Bondanella (12 October 2009). A history of Italian cinema. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2009. ISBN 978-1441160690.
  2. ^ a b Michele Giordano, Daniele Aramu (2000). La commedia erotica italiana. Gremese Editore, 2000. ISBN 888440035X.
  3. ^ Gomarasca, Manlio; Pulici, Davide (2013). La piccola cineteca degli orrori: Tutti i FILM che i fratelli Lumière non avrebbero mai voluto vedere (in Italian). Bureau. p. 38. ISBN 9788858654866. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ Aulenti, Lino (2011). Storia del cinema italiano (in Italian). ed. p. 137. ISBN 9788862921084. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  5. ^ Bertolino, Marco; Ridola, Ettore (1999). Vizietti all'italiana: l'epoca d'oro della commedia sexy (in Italian). I. Molino. p. 14. ISBN 9788890035920. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  6. ^ Costa, Enrico (2012). Itinerari mediterranei (in Italian). Città del Sole Edizioni. ISBN 9788873515692. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  7. ^ Cremonini, Maria. Le Favolose Attrici Anni Settanta (in Italian). Retrieved 16 February 2019.

Further reading

  • Michele Giordano, Daniele Aramu, La commedia erotica italiana, Gremese Editore, 2000. ISBN 888440035X.
  • Max Serio, Commedia sexy all'italiana, Mediane, 2007. ISBN 978-8896042113.
  • Marco Bertolino, Ettore Ridola, Vizietti all'italiana: l'epoca d'oro della commedia sexy, I. Molino, 1999
  • Gordiano Lupi, Le dive nude, Profondo rosso, 2006
  • Gordiano Lupi, Grazie... zie! Tutto sulle attrici e i registi della commedia sexy all'italiana, Profondo rosso, 2012.ISBN 8895294521.
  • Andrea Di Quarto, Michele Giordano, Moana e le altre, Gremese Editore, 1997
  • Stefano Loparco, Il corpo dei Settanta. Il corpo, l'immagine e la maschera di Edwige Fenech, Il Foglio Letterario, 2009. ISBN 978-8876062582.
  • Giuliano Pavone, Giovannona Coscialunga a Cannes: storia e riabilitazione della commedia all'italiana anni '70, Tarab, 1999
This page was last edited on 8 December 2023, at 02:26
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