'La Scultura' ('The Sculpture'): Montreal Review

LA SCULTURA The Sculpture Still - H 2014
Courtesy of The World Film Festival Montreal

LA SCULTURA The Sculpture Still - H 2014

A jaw-droppingly bad would-be art film

A sculptor and a prostitute swap life lessons

MONTREAL — Imagine a young man who wants to be a filmmaker, though he's never seen anything but 1980s "Skin-emax" late-night fare. After reading some sketchy descriptions of late-Sixties European art films, he thinks he can imagine what they're like. He decides to make one, though his budget requires him to shoot in abandoned real-estate developments with a cast and crew experienced only in telenovelas. That man is Mauro John Capece, and his magnum opus — a film worse than even this imagined description suggests — is La Scultura. One is loath to enrich Capece, who should seek other work posthaste, by bringing his film to the attention of the so-bad-it's-good crowd. But if the right handful of perverse tastemakers see it, this thing might live forever.

Neophytes Adrien Liss and Corinna Coroneo play Mose, a penniless Italian sculptor, and Korinne, a prostitute who rents a room from him. How did the penniless sculptor wind up with a McVilla? Best not to ask. And definitely don't try to make sense of the greasy-haired creep who visits Mose's studio, or the profanely ranting guy he reports to. Are they landlords? Or just philistine authority figures who don't understand the brilliance of Mose's art?

The young man quickly grows obsessed with his new housemate, and while she's off engaging in softcore simulated sex with guys in limos, he's sniffing her underwear and — well, presumably pleasuring himself, though those jerky motions under the bedsheet suggest that Liss and his director may be the world's only males who are unfamiliar with the process.

After some vague talk about yoga and asceticism, the film gets to its real point, the allegorical transformation of the artist who won't sell out into an actual whore. Who knows where this notion comes from, but Korinne takes Mose shopping for high heels, a studded leather dress, and a wig, then sets him up to hustle tricks whose action is even less convincing than the earlier erotic scenes. And thank goodness for that, given the degradations in store.

Things do not go well, for the characters or the audience. The crowd of mostly senior-citizen Montrealers at the premiere were shockingly respectful, with the low number of walkouts a testament to their good manners in the face of bad art. Maybe they were sticking it out in hopes that this was all a joke. But they should have known better: It's impossible to make a movie this bad on purpose. You have to believe devoutly in your vision to be this blind.

Production company: Evoque

Cast: Corinna Coroneo, Adrien Liss, Perpaolo Capovilla, Flavio Sciolè, Gabrielle Silvestrini, Kyrham

Director: Mauro John Capece

Screenwriters: Mauro John Capece, Corinna Coroneo

Director of photography:  Marco Fracassa

Editor: Francesca Pasquaretta

Music: India Czajkowska

No rating, 105 minutes