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Tinto Brass’s Deadly Attractions and Sinful Desires

MUBI Special

Although better-known today as a taboo-busting director of soft-core erotica, Tinto Brass began his film career with politically charged avant-garde cinema, working across a range of genres including gialli, comedies, and westerns. Born in Milan in 1933, Brass later moved to Paris, where he began working at the Cinémathèque française and as assistant to the Dutch experimental documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens and later, the Italian neorealist director Roberto Rossellini. Inspired by radical politics, the anti-war movement, and the free love ideals of the sexual revolution, Tinto’s early films burst at the seams with trippy montages, kaleidoscopic split screens, Pop art visuals, and a thumping countercultural heartbeat. Disillusioned by the outcome of the ‘68 student protests, Brass embraced erotic cinema, for which he is now considered Italy’s undisputed maestro. From his infamous fetishes and outrageous forays into period drama to his provocative adoption of the Nazisploitation subgenre, Tinto’s soft-core “skin flicks” return to common themes of betrayal, subterfuge, “sinful” sexual transgression, and sexual liberation—and have been shredded up by censors so many times it would make your head spin!

Deadly Sweet

Tinto Brass Italy, 1967

Before Tinto Brass was famed for his for softcore erotica, he made a Swinging London giallo starring Candy’s Ewa Aulin & Jean-Louis Trintignant! This kaleidoscopic joyride of split screens, soft rock and the Pop visuals of cartoonist Guido Crepax seductively melds the underground and underworld.

Salon Kitty

Tinto Brass Italy, 1976

Depraved. Decadent. Damned. Another progenitor of the cult 1970s Italian Nazisploitation genre (alongside Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter) Tinto Brass’s Salon Kitty is a true story transformed into outrageously transgressive erotica. Featuring the legend of European cinema, Helmut Berger.

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