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Plot:

In 1599 Italy, Beatrice Cenci is the teenage daughter of the crazy landowner and nobleman Francesco Cenci whom he keeps his daughter locked up in the dungeon of his castle for his plaything, sexually abusing her when he feels like it. Beatrice then plots with her stepmother, her besotted servant Olimpio, as well as a local bandit, named Catalano, to plan Francesco’s murder.

Also Known As: Que o Céu a Condene, La vera storia di Beatrice Cenci, Liens d'amour et de sang, Beatrice Cenci, The Conspiracy of Torture, Die Nackte und der Kardinal West, Инквизиция Soviet, Uma História de Amor e de Sangue

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  • maurycy-wochna
    maurycy wochna

    Lucio Fulci. Just hearing the name will make most cult cinema fans think of blood and gore – and for good reason since the great director was responsible for some of the best gory highlights ever made, and for that reason; he’s just about the last director you would expect to make a period drama. Fulci did have a varied career, making films in many of Italy’s most famous genres, from westerns and Polizi flicks to Giallo and the blood and gore films with which he made his name…however, it would seem that period dramas were not his thing as Beatrice Cenci will not feature in my list of favourite Fulci flicks! The plot is actually a decent base for a film and is set in 16th Century Italy. The title character, Beatrice Cenci, is the daughter of a rich landowner named Francesco Cenci. Francesco is a cruel man who keeps his daughter locked up in a room and tortures her. Naturally, she’s not best pleased at this arrangement and since she’s not the only one who dislikes her father, she doesn’t have a hard time getting some other people to help her murder him.I have to admit, part of the reason why I didn’t like this film is because I’m not a fan of period dramas. Naturally, my only reason for watching this is because I’m a big Fulci fan and I’ll watch anything that the director’s name is attached to, even if it is something from a genre I have no love for. Even though I found the film rather dull, I do have to admire the great director’s work on it. He may be best known for his gore flicks, but Fulci’s talent came out best in his earlier films and here he creates a great atmosphere and manages to pull good performances out of his cast. Aside from Fulci at the helm, this film also features another great cult luminary in an early role, in the form of the always watchable Tomas Milian. He is joined by Adrienne Larussa who takes the title role and does a good job with it. Despite the fact that this is a departure from what Fulci is best known for, it’s not completely devoid of the elements that won him his fan base as the film does feature some rather nasty torture scenes. Overall, I can respect the craftsmanship on this film but I won’t pretend to like it! Recommended to hardcore Fulci fans only.

  • ebba-berg
    ebba berg

    Mid-century Italian renditions of period pieces are never quite the best; especially when coming from someone better suited for giallo as we would see from Fulci in the future. Even this early film shows all the fulci trademarks: the brutal special effects, the swinging close ups, the focus on eyes, and sadly, the poorly written plot. Although to be fair it’s not the story so much as it is the constant back and forth in time. The flashbacks and present time are hardly differentiated and this is made even more confusing by it being in a foreign language for me. I really want to love this film, it gives hints as to the director’s later greatness, and at the same time shows that he can work with genres other than slashers. Sadly it’s just not up to par and makes me glad that he later did decide to stick with slashers. If I can get my hands on his earlier, non-thriller, stuff I will. But i’ll be sure to keep my standards lowered just a bit. Mind you, this movie was still enjoyable but I think I let my excitement and love for this director raise my expectations too high.

  • ana-volk
    ana volk

    This is further evidence that Lucio Fulci was a man of many talents before becoming bitter at diminishing budgets and the pigeonholing of his skills into gory horror. Here, Fulci gives us a historical drama about the corruption of the Catholic church (and not for the last time!) as well as the hypocrisy of Roman nobility, It’s gory and horrible too, but in a dramatic, historical way!Beatrice Cenci is the daughter of Francesco Cenci, a Roman nobleman whom we first see feeding a man to a pack of dogs. He’s a nasty bastard all right, and has done something to offend the current Pope and now has to make amends by giving up a third of his wealth. His children all hate him, even Beatrice, who has petitioned the Pope behind his back in order to enter the church as a nun. This breaks the heart of her lover, Vassal Tomas Milian, but he still remains loyal and goes with her wishes. However, while celebrating the death by smallpox of his two eldest sons(!), Francesco finds out about Beatrice wanting to join the church and arranges instead to keep her captive in the basement of his tower until he dies…which seems to happen almost immediately after he says that. As the film jumps back and forth on the timeline, we don’t get to see what happened right away, which allows the Catholic Church to hire medieval Colombo to sort the mystery out! Should that be D’catolic choich?Yes, the film is gory and full of violence and torture, but I think this only goes to show how awful human beings actually are and how corrupt the Catholic Church were back then. Folks are put on racks, burned with tongs, and one character foreshadows many a future Fulci film by having a huge nail rammed into his eye. That said, the film is not cheap looking and it’s all deadly serious. Everything looks exactly like a Fulci film too – no matter how cheap his films became in the late eighties, they still retained that certain look. Tomas Milian stands out here as the repressed, subdued servant which had me worrying if he would ever do his ‘covered in filth, screaming’ bit (it happens about an hour in). It’s depressing stuff, but it’s also interesting to see these directors working in different fields. I’m not watching any of his comedies however, although I do like the title The Senator Liked Woman’s Bottoms.

  • szilagyi-petra
    szilagyi petra

    Lucio Fulci achieved his greatest enduring cult popularity with his gruesome and moody horror splatter pictures, but was actually a much more versatile and accomplished director than he usually gets credit for being. This historical drama stands out as a sterling example of Fulci’s remarkable cinematic talents: Lavishly mounted on a substantial budget, it manages to be genuinely poignant and gripping without ever becoming too sappy or melodramatic. Fulci handles the stark and unsentimental telling of this shocking real life tragedy with admirable skill and assurance; he delivers a thoroughly convincing and unromantic evocation of the harsh 16th century period setting along with a properly grim’n’gritty atmosphere and trademark startling moments of brutal violence and sadistic torture. Adrienne Larussa gives a strong and touching performance as Beatrice Cenci, a gentle, yet proud and resilient teenager who plotted with her faithful servant lover Olimpio (the always excellent Tomas Milian) to kill her cruel and abusive nobleman father Don Francesco Cenci (superbly played to the hateful hilt by Georges Wilson). Mavie is likewise sound as Beatrice’s long-suffering stepmother Lucrezia and Ignazio Spalla contributes an amusing turn as gross fat slob bandit Catalano. Erco Menczer’s sumptuous cinematography gives the movie an impressively lush and expansive look. The grand and melodic score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino and Silvano Spadaccino rates as another major asset. But it’s Fulci’s inspired direction and the bold vehement anti-Catholic stance that really brings a certain raw and direct power to the film. Well worth seeing.

  • jerome-herve
    jerome herve

    I do not go much for Fulci’s horror movies which remain very inferior,IMHO, to those of his Italian colleagues (Dario Argento and Mario Bava).But this one ,by keeping the horror sequences to the minimum (the tortures scenes do not last long fortunately),is eminently commendable.The cast includes two French actors :one of them ,Georges Wilson ,a very earnest stage thespian ,and the father of Lambert Wilson,is very unexpected here ,and his part of the violent perverse noble who rejoices cause two of his sons are dead so he won’t have to feed them anymore and who imprisons his daughter in a dungeon is quite impressive .The other French actor is Raymond Pellegrin in a supporting role.Adrienne Larusso is incredibly beautiful as Beatrice Cenci and Thomas Milian gives a restrained effective performance.The plot is not easy to catch up with ,because the director blends present and past without the traditional codes .No transition most of the time.Besides ,there are many characters ,and many of them are underwritten (Beatrice’s brother for instance)It’s a film of blood and fury,the monsters are everywhere :Francesco Cenci is terrifying but so is the Holy Office whose goal is to appropriate the Cenci’s fortune.Like this?try these….Flesh and blood (Paul Verhoeven,1985)The devils (Ken Russel,1970)La monaca di Monza (ERIPRANDO Visconti,1968)

  • olivia-dennis
    olivia dennis

    Those expecting a typical horror movie will be disappointed, as the horror depicted here is the Catholic Church’s use of torture in the Middle Ages, and their greed. Fulci doesn’t flinch from presenting the evil that was the church in that time.Those who do not like period pieces may find this film dull, but Fulci does a great job producing a work that is both beautiful and interesting.Adrienne Larussa was beautiful and did a very good job as the title character. Her father, played by Georges Wilson, was an evil man who kept her locked up. Wilson does a very good job portraying someone you really want to see die.You have to love a strong determined woman. Even in the face of torture by the church, she remained strong.Definitely not a movie for faithful Catholics.

  • spuranna-theodosiadou
    spuranna theodosiadou

    A terrificly executed period piece from the Godfather of Gore, Beatrice Cenci(1969) is a masterpiece of tragic beauty. This movie is a contradiction to the accusation of Fulci as a misogynist from his later films. Adrienne LaRussa does a nice job in conveying the almost gentle nature of the female protagonist. George Wilson as the father does a good job in portraying someone truly evil. Cries of death to the director were shouted in a theatre due to the film’s anti-catholic nature.The Catholic church is presented in the film with absolute disdain. In fact, they are seen as greedy and hypocritical. Beatrice Cenci(1969), along with The Witchfinder General(1968) are probably the best films dealing with the late middle ages. The direction is nearly perfect, and the story is well done. The film revolves around a labyrinth of flashbacks in the style of Reservoir Dogs(1992). The main source of influence seems to been The play version of The Cenci by Artoud, Antonin as well as the five act play by Percelly Shelly.There are two films that Beatrice Cenci(1969) compares with. One film is Don’t Torture A Duckling(1972) which also deals with Catholic repression. Another film is The Devil’s Honey(1986) which deals deals with a woman’s urge to be an independant woman. Beatrice Cenci(1969) is not only overlooked by Fulci supporters but by Fulci distractors as well. This movie shows that Fulci was capable of more ambigious and personal films then the many ones that he direct in his career(Its too bad as he had the talent that would have made him one of the best directors of his generation in Italy).