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Case Number 16436: Small Claims Court

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Reflections Of Light

MVD Visual // 1988 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // May 22nd, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis feels like the only good use this DVD has is to reflect light.

The Charge

A torrid tale of passion, lust, and sexual blackmail.

The Case

Wheelchair-bound composer Federico (Gabriele Tinti, Emanuelle's Daughter) cannot stop grieving over the loss of his first wife, Chiara (Laura Gemser, Emanuelle in America), despite having remarried the loving and beautiful Marta (Pamela Prati, The Adventures of Hercules). He feels that she only married him out of pity for the loss of his legs, and, no matter her protestations to the contrary, Federico remains bitter and cruel to Marta. Federico's secretary, Giorgia (Loredano Romito, You'll Die at Midnight), sees this harsh treatment, so goes to "comfort" Marta but, in the throes of passion, they are caught by Federico's son, Marcello (Gabrielle Gori, Bronx Executioner), who wants to use this sexy knowledge to tear his family asunder.

Reflections of Light may appear at first to be a high-tone, less exploitative entry into the European erotic drama genre, but don't be fooled. That impression comes from the simple fact that there is virtually nothing going on in this film. It seems that director Mario Bianchi (Satan's Baby Doll) had the impression that the film would be much classier if anything resembling cinematic action got eliminated from the film. These characters would rather sit at a table eating or ride horses instead of any of the weird and awful things that make many of these films so much fun and, though the plot is unnecessarily complicated, none of their actions lend any insight into what's going. At one point, they drive around in a Ferrari, so make of that what you will, but the only guarantee we have is one of boredom. During all of this sitting, eating, and riding, the plot is conveyed through the dialog in large brush strokes, with each character giving his or her dialog as simple information without subtlety or emotion, as though the placemats at the table in front of them have their lines written on them.

The big trouble, however, is that the dialog that they read doesn't make much sense and nor do the characters' motivations stay consistent, so the performance become even more sleep-inducing. Just as things start to become a little bit clear, the characters switch up on you without warning or explanation. Giorgia lives at the family's estate for no explicit reason, because Federico has long since stopped composing. And she makes her intentions toward Marta clear from the start. In the opening moments of the film, the women are lounging by the pool when Giorgia suddenly grabs a hose and starts spraying Marta down. A pretty clear signal, if you ask me, but at some point, Giorgia becomes the villain of the story, though she's does nothing wrong at any point. Her actions had always been focused on easing the pain that Federico causes and I just don't see how this makes her bad. Every character has some moment where this happens. People turn violent for no reason and allegiances change with no explanation yet, in the end, everybody learns a lesson and is inexplicably happy.

"But, wait," I can hear the readers saying now, "isn't this supposed to be some kind of sex movie?" You're right; every few minutes, they break the monotony by rubbing up against each other for a while. Bianchi tries to incorporate these scenes into the story but, because there is no story to speak of, there isn't actually anything to weave with the sex. As a result, the sex scenes are more reminiscent of a Playboy video, where the model is talking about the rodeo and guys who make her laugh when, all of a sudden, she's in the shower with a lasso. There are a few mildly erotic scenes, but nothing that pushes any of the boundaries that the genre is known for.

This DVD release of Reflections of Light from MVD is perfectly adequate for a film of this caliber. The picture is full frame, but it doesn't appear to have too much cropped from the image. Overall, the image is clean with good black levels and flesh tones. There is some grain here and there, but nothing too distracting. The mono sound is straightforward but clear without hiss. Though it's in Italian, it is still one of the worst dubbing jobs you'll ever see. The only extra is a totally pointless still gallery. My only real complaint about the release, however, is in the packaging. The synopsis on the back, normally very general and often wrong, details the plot from start to finish, spoiling everything in the film in case you were hoping to be surprised. It leaves you to wonder why you'd even bother watching the film at all. Well, here's a tip: don't.

Reflections of Light is terrible, but not that sexy and insane kind of terrible that draws me to the genre. With the lack of activity, it's almost like Bianchi has tried, for some reason, to legitimize a genre that is happy in the gutter and should be left alone.

The Verdict

Guilty, but I'm too bored to assign punishment, so everybody is free to go.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile

Studio: MVD Visual
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Italian)
• English
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Drama
• Erotic
• Foreign

Distinguishing Marks

• Image Gallery


• IMDb

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