Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Darling Slave

The only women who could be called ideal is a slave
and nothing but a slave. Obedient, always available
and completely trained to submit…

-Demetrio Cultura on the subject of
gender equality from the Italian
misogyn-omedy “My Darling Slave”

What makes a woman? The ability to bear children? Sugar and spice and so many, far too many, goddamned shoes? An emotion addled, math-hating brain? Is it their inability to throw a baseball or cast a shadow? Could it be their instinct to protect their joey within their marsupiam- or pouch – during postnatal development? Crimping irons? Or is it something that has to do with appletinis, glass ceilings and menstruation? Being a shut-in whose only exposure to the fairer sex (or should I say unfairer sex? Am I right guys? Who’s with me?) has been a handful of reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, I really couldn’t say. But what I lack in knowledge I more than make up in fear. Fear that one day women might somehow gain a soul and all of our laundry related needs will go unfulfilled. But in the meantime, I can assuage this fear with My Darling Slave a chucklebration of searing hatred that finally puts those damnable women in their place (i.e. in front of a rickshaw).

Long forgotten funnyman Lando Buzzanca plays Demetrio Cultura a pratfall prone shlub who makes a grave miscalculation when he marries a self-assured heiress named Rosalba (Catherine Spaak). Although initially charmed by her candor, Rosalba reveals herself to be an overbearing shrew immediately following the wedding. It isn’t long before every aspect of Demetrio’s life is being controlled by Rosalba. If she isn’t forcing him to wear the latest ill-advised fashions (which, incidentally, make him resemble a gay farmer from the future) she’s redecorating his apartment with furniture that isn’t furniture but in actuality expensive sculptures that are intended to symbolize furniture or something (Yeah! Up your dick modern art!). If that wasn’t enough she even demands to borrow Demetrio’s car. Whatta bitch! Women can’t drive cars! They don’t know how to reverse and their boobs get all tangled up in the steering wheel.

Unable to deal with his control freak of a spouse or the vicious pack of feral, Depression era newsboys she adopted behind his back, Demetrio takes a mistress. However, being that all women everywhere are hateful misery beasts, his mistress (Euro-art house mainstay Adriana Asti) not only turns out to be a shrieking, perpetually paranoid baby-woman but the wife of the local police commissioner as well. Granted, Asti’s unstable personality does excite Demetrio at first. But her kinkiness (particularly her desire to make love in front of her niece’s baby dolls so they could “watch”) quickly wears thin. It also doesn’t help that during one of their demented rendezvous, Demetrio experiences the worst thing that could ever happen to a man: an indifferent bank teller questions his sexuality. Luckily, Demetrio manages to get himself off the hook when he claims to be an undercover cop looking to catch gay bankers in the act of gay banking.

With his oily masculinity quickly slipping away, Demetrio comes up with a brilliant plan to salvage what remains of his virility: he’ll divorce his wife and travel to the jungles of South America (along with Gordon Mitchell as a wacky Nazi) and acquire a gorgeous, eerily submissive slave (Veronica Merin). However, once they’re back in civilization, his friends and neighbors don’t cotton to this whole “white slavery” thing or Demetrio’s assertion that Merin is little more than “a possession.” But he doesn’t seem to care what they think because he’s finally found a woman who will gladly cook his meals, carry his luggage and is unfamiliar with the concept of sass mouth. Yet not everything is as it seems and even though Demetrio seems to enjoy treating Merin like a dog in front of his leering pals, he’s also starting to look beyond her tendency to bite people without warning and finally notice her warm and understanding tits.

I really don’t want to call My Darling Slave sexist. It’s not because it isn’t, it’s just because it would be a gross understatement. It would be akin to calling Hitler a big jerk. My Darling Slave hates women to such a crazed, single-minded degree that it goes beyond mere misogyny and enters a strange new realm of revulsion that could only be called “Dave Sim-like”. Granted, unlike most Italian sex comedies the female characters found here are actually, sort-of, kind-of, smart(ish) but on the other hand they’re also depicted as monstrous, succubuses hell-bent on destroying men’s lives and draining the life-force from their wallets. If anything, My Darling Slave suggests what would happen if The Promise Keepers staged a production of My Fair Lady.

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