Sanquepazzo (Wild Blood) (2008)
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana.
Starring: Monica Bellucci (Luisa Ferida), Alessio Boni (Golfiero Goffredi / Taylor), Luca Zingaretti (Osvaldo Valenti), Maurizio Donadoni (Vero Marozin), Tresy Taddei (Irene), Luigi Diberti (Cardi), Massimo Sarchielli (Guercio), Mattia Sbragia (Alfiero Corazza), Alessandro Di Natale (Dalmazio), Giovanni Visentin (Sturla), Paolo Bonanni (Pietro Koch).
acting couple Valenti and Ferida help the fascist regime and later collaborate with the Germans
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
A young girl and her brother are riding their bikes in a bombed out part of Milan, Italy. They see some movie film stretched along the street and they start rolling it up to see where it ends. They roll and roll the film up until they stop in shock at what they see.
There are scenes of battles during World War II. Men are marching and giving the fascist salute.
A man watches his sleeping wife.
Milan, April 20, 1945. Five days before liberation. The man watching his wife is Lt. Osvaldo Valenti of the 10th MAS Flotilla. He gets dressed in his uniform and starts walking toward the partisan controlled area. The fascist guards stop him, but Osvaldo insists that he has to go through to parlay with the partisans. He takes what looks like a striped kitchen towel as a white flag. In partisan territory he is quickly stopped by men screaming at him to get down on his knees with his hands behind his head. He has with him a photo. He asks permission to take it out of his pocket. Permission granted, Osvaldo takes the photo out and says: "I must talk with this person."
They take Osvaldo to the partisan quarters. The man in the photo is film director Golfiero Goffredi. His code name is Taylor. The unit commander is Vero. Osvaldo and Golfiero know each other. Golfiero asks how is Luisa Ferida? He says she is fine and staying at the Hotel Regina. Osvaldo also says she is safe, but Golfiero says that she is in danger if other partisans find her. Vero tells Osvaldo that he knows that Osvaldo and special police officer Koch tortured partisans at Villa Triste. Osvaldo says it's not true. There is also talk that Luisa danced naked for soldiers and did other inappropriate things. Again Osvaldo says it's just not true. He says Koch's girlfriend Desy idolized Luiza and wanted to be her. She would wear her make-up like Luisa does and wear similar clothing. In other words, she would imitate Luisa so well that she could have been Luisa's double. He goes on to say that Luisa is pregnant and a pregnant woman doesn't dance naked or torture partisans.
Golfiero puts on a German officer uniform and goes to retrieve Luisa from the hotel. There are lots of German troops in the area. He walks to the Hotel Regia and goes upstairs to Luisa's room. Luisa answers the door, but doesn't know why a German officer is standing before her. She doesn't recognize Golfiero until he tells her his name. They hug. Then she asks him why is he wearing that uniform? He tells her that Osvaldo turned himself in to the partisans and now he (Golfiero) has come to get her. She wants to take the reels of film of Osvaldo's film that eventually will be known as Wild Blood. Golfiero will only let her takes a few reels.
Golfiero and Luisa arrive. Luisa sees Osvaldo on his knees praying. The two hug each other.
Flashback. Rome, Spring 1936. Osvaldo climbs out a window of a hotel and goes over to the next window. He goes inside where there are two naked women sleeping in a bed. Osvaldo phones his friend aide Sturla. He says he is running a bit late but he is on his way to get Sturla now. Osvaldo picks up Sturla in his car. They go to a movie studio. Osvaldo is an actor and he is making a movie based on Shakespeare's play Richard III. During a scene he just starts saying random numbers. The director stops him and asks what does he think he is doing? Osvaldo complains that he always gets dubbed anyway, so why not just say random numbers. The director is not amused.
Back stage Osvaldo snorts cocaine. He is shown photos of two women. One of them is a photo of Luisa Manfrini. He selects Luisa's photo saying this one is good. Luisa reports to Osvaldo who is a bit fresh and rude to her. She explains to him that she came to Rome to be an actress. Osvaldo says Manfrni is no good for the movies and she must change it. He gives her a hard time and she resents it.
Golfiero Goffredi stops Luisa and offers her a part in his new film Lost Woman. She thinks he is just another man trying to pick her up. He says the the fascists don't like him and he doesn't like them. Luisa is still skeptical. Golfiero proves he's in the movies by telling her about her two small parts in Italian films. He drives her to a big house. The butler Silvestro greets them. At dinner Golfiero corrects her table manners, saying that she must be able to impress the smart set. Later he drives her to her apartment building. He tells her that tomorrow he will send the costume designer to pick her up. Luisa still can't quite believe it and she asks Golfiero to stay with her at her place and then in the morning repeat everything he told her today. He says no.
Luisa goes up to her apartment and she is not pleased when she sees the arrogant Osvaldo there. He is very persistent with her, so she finally says: "We do it and then you leave." They have sex (not shown). Luisa now says he has to leave -- they had an agreement. She also says that they will not be seeing each other again.
Back to the present. Luisa places her head on Osvaldo's lap and goes to sleep.
Flashback. A film directed by Golfiero and acted by Luisa is being premiered before an audience. Afterwards, Luisa gets a big applause.
Osvaldo asks the hotel clerk what is going on? The clerk says they are having a private party for Madame Luisa Ferida. Osvaldo gives the clerk some money so he can get an invitation to the party from him. The clerk takes the money and gives Osvaldo the invitation. Osvaldo goes to the party. The first thing he does is to go up to the orchestra leader and asks him to play the American tune Isn't it Romantic. The orchestra strikes up the tune. Osvaldo playfully prances around until he gets over next to Luisa. He asks her to dance and she agrees.
On the dance floor, Luisa objects to Osvaldo holding her too close to him. To get back at him, she calls him, among other things, a pimp. She tries to leave him, but he won't let her go. She insults him some more. She finally breaks away from Osvaldo and goes to dance with Golfiero.
Osvaldo leaves the private party. He asks the hotel clerk if he can get him a couple of ladies for his entertainment? The clerk tells him that there is already a lady waiting for him in his room. Osvaldo is curious and goes up to his room. He finds Luisa Ferida, not Manfrini any more, waiting for him. He has lent her some money and she says she is just here to return the money to him. She gives him the money and starts to leave but Osvaldo won't let her go. Soon they are hugging and kissing (brief nudity).
Back to the present. The partisans are moving out. They put Luisa and Osvaldo in the back of a truck. The partisans say the real threat to the couple are other partisans who would kill the couple if they could find them. Milan is just not safe for them. Vero tells them that they have an order to shoot the couple, but Golfiero insists on a trial.
The couple are taken to an isolated farm house where Vero's niece Irene lives. Uncle and niece warmly greet each other. Vero tells his niece that she is to say nothing about the two people with him, not even to the partisans. The couple is put in a room hidden inside what appears from the outside to be a huge stack of wood. Luisa asks Golfiero if the partisans have already condemned them to death? Golfiero says he is going to do all he can for them. Luisa says Vero scares her, but Golfiero assures her that Vero knows that she did not do anything wrong. Luisa adds: "Neither did Osvaldo."
Flashback. There is newsreel footage of the 9th International Film Festival in Venice. Joseph Goebbels, the German Minister of the Dept. of Propaganda (one part of which includes German films) is at the festival. Luisa mixes with the fascists at the festival. At night Luisa and Sturla and his lady friend come aboard a ship to pay a visit to Osvaldo. They had to sneak Luisa aboard the ship. Osvaldo tells Luisa that Cardi (Director General of Motion Pictures) hates him. Luisa shows him the award she won for best actress. Osvaldo tells her congratulations. He gets Luisa to try some cocaine. While she gets high, he has oral sex with her (not shown). The lady friend of Sturla sets up a recording machine that catches the conversation and sounds of love making between the acting couple.
Luisa goes to speak to Cardi. She tells him that he didn't give Golfiero's movie the approval he needs. Cardi responds that Osvaldo is an anti-fascist. Luisa warns Cardi that she will go over his head to talk with Il Duce himself to get approval for the film. Now Cardi becomes a bit of a blackmailer. He plays the tape of her love making with Osvaldo. This really upsets Luisa who says that Cardi had no right to record that and that he must turn it off. The Minister call her: "Slut! Whore!"
Back to the present. Golfrido and Vero pay a visit to the underground printing press for the partisans. The fellow in charge asks them if the deed (the execution) has been carried out. Vero and Golfiero say the order was not carried out. The fellow calls the two actors "two degenerates". A higher rank man in the partisan movement comes to speak to Golfriero and Vero. He tells the two men that the date for the revolt has already been set. He adds that they do not want a bloodbath, but they need to make an example of Osvaldo and Luisa to save the others in similar situations.
Flashback. Luisa rushes in her automobile to say something to Gofiero before he leaves. She arrives in time and tells Golfiero that she just found out that he is being sent into exile. The police take Golfiero and put him on a boat. Luisa drives back home. She finds Osvaldo playing cards with two men. She wants Osvaldo to come to bed, but he says he wants a chance to regain the money he lost. Luisa goes into the bedroom, takes off some of her clothes and gets into bed.
Luisa listens as Osvaldo plays cards. One of the men is very happy with the flush that he has and bets all the money he has. Osvaldo doesn't have that much money and the fellow won't take a check. So Osvaldo tells his challenger that the man can take his place in bed with Luisa. Thank goodness, Osvaldo wins. When he comes into the bedroom, Luisa is furious with him for placing such a bet as he did. Osvaldo gets very loud and says: "I wanted to lose, you whore!" He accuses her of going off in the morning to have a love affair. Luisa says that she just went to Gaeta to see Golfiero before he went into exile. Osvaldo then confronts her with a photo of Goofiero she carries with her. She tells Osvaldo that it's just a picture taken on the movie set. She tells him that he is jealous, but he denies that. She, however, knows he's jealous, likes that he's jealous and starts kissing him. All of a sudden Osvaldo starts laughing his head off saying that he can't believe she fell for his little act. Luisa pushes him down on the bed, saying: "What an idiot!" She tells him to shut up or he will ruin everything. She kisses him and says: "Let's have a baby."
Back to the present. One of the guards protecting Osvaldo and Luisa says to the other guard that one day he is going to marry the young girl, Vero's niece.
Flashback. Pontine Archipelago, summer 1940, on a small ship. Luisa is pregnant. She says she is having a boy and his name his Kim. The crew calls Osvaldo and Luisa over to hear something important on the radio. It is Mussolini speaking and he is talking about having issued a Declaration of War. Someone says that Mussolini is going to war because he's afraid that Uncle Adolf will take it all, leaving nothing for Italy.
Luisa is leaving the hospital. She lost the baby. Osvaldo and Luisa go home. Osvaldo walks through the nursery and tells Sturla to get rid of all the stuff in the room. Luisa rests in bed, while Osvaldo watches over her. Later he sits or lays down all alone, thinking.
Back to the present. Irene, brings the couple their food and finds Osvaldo withdrawing from his cocaine addiction while Luisa holds him tight and kisses his head. When Luisa sees Irene, she tells her to get out. Irene backs up, but doesn't actually leave. It's like she is transfixed. Luisa yells at her some more, but still Irene won't leave. Finally, Osvaldo falls asleep. Irene tries to comfort Luisa and Luisa apologizes to her: "Forgive me, for before." She then asks Irene if she has a boyfriend. At first she says no, but with some prodding she says she likes Piero, the curly haired guard standing watch outside. Luisa gives her a pearl necklace. They hug and Luisa cries.
Flashback. A newsreel is shown praising the accomplishments of fascism in Italy. It also talks about Italy's attack on Ethiopia. Then the newsreel narrator says: "But then all was lost." The King accepted Mussolini's resignation. "On September 8 with the enemy advancing, restrained only by Hitler's soldiers, the nation's flag was shamefully lowered in the occupied territories." The Germans save Mussolini who was captured by partisans. The newsreel narrator says that the Germans returned Mussolini and the young republic was reborn. The audience claps.
Cardi, the Director General of Motion Pictures, compliments the audience on their coming here, because many, such as Roberto Rossellini, did not even bother to come. He says they will participate in a rebirth of Italian cinema. They will transfer the movie industry to Venice, where they can resume their work. Osvaldo is in the audience. After the audience leaves, Cardi talks to Osvaldo alone. He tells Osvaldo that it's over. And now Mussolini is Hitler's puppet. Cardi then turns his anger on Osvaldo. He says he detests Osvaldo because he is a gambler who lives beyond his means. Not to mention that the government designated him a cocaine addict. Osvaldo says for ten years he has been shooting a film to be called Wild Blood. Cardi asks what about Luisa? Osvaldo says she's just like him.
Cardi now drops a bombshell. He says he is resigning from his position. And, even more shocking, he has named Osvaldo as his possible successor. Cardi tells Osvaldo that with the position comes great freedoms, especially to move around geographically. He wants Osvaldo to use that freedom to get him and Luisa out of Italy. Osvaldo now leaves with the resignation letter, which he is to deliver, in his hand.
As Osvaldo walks down the hallways, he hears a shot. Cardi has committed suicide. Now Osvaldo just crumbles up the letter of resignation.
Venice, October 1943. Osvaldo films a dead man stuffed into a rubber tire floating in the sea. In Venice he and Luisa re-meet Prince Junio Valerio Borghese. The prince speaks with Osvaldo alone. They talk about how to prevent Germany from reducing all of Italy to ruins. A woman comes up to Osvaldo and asks for his autography for her daughter. Osvaldo obliges her.
Luisa comes home and finds Osvaldo in uniform. Osvaldo says he is now Lt. Valenti, 10th MAS Flotilla. Luisa is shocked and a bit horrified. He says he is just giving Borghese a hand and he puts the blame on Luisa saying that she wouldn't help him in his efforts to make better films. Luisa just says that she detested the fascist-influenced films. She mentions to Osvaldo: You look like a double of Borghese.
Osvaldo is being filmed for a movie. The actress he works with is rather dim-witted and he gets angry and tells everyone that she got the job by performing sexual favors for the influential Minister. Later the director scolds Osvaldo, telling him that the actress could shut down the whole film. The director tells Osvaldo that they should have stayed in Rome. Director Roberto Rossellini is at present shooting a film there about Rome. Osvaldo goes back to snorting his cocaine.
Back to the present. On a motorcycle Vero and Golfiero are returning to Irene's place. As they near the house they hear shots. They jump off the motorcycle and assemble their automatic weapons. They sneak towards the house. The two partisans see soldiers standing over the dead bodies of Irene and the two guards. Vero and Golfiero sneak up closer and then open fire on the killers. They wound or kill all of them. Now Vero finishes the still living by shooting them all in the head.
Vero seems to want to go in and kill Osvaldo and Luisa. Golfiero tries to stop him, but Vero throws Golfiero to the ground and points his automatic weapon at him. Golfiero stays still. Vero makes no more movements toward the hiding place. Golfiero goes in to bring Osvaldo and Luisa out of hiding. Vero tells Luisa to go find two clean Italian army uniforms among the dead soldiers. Luisa doesn't like the assignment, but she does it.
Vero puts his niece into a newly dug grave. He cries over the body of the niece. Luisa comes over and tells him to bury her next to Piero. Vero agrees.
Vero and Osvaldo put on the army uniforms. In a truck they start moving out. They have to stop for awhile as a guard checks them over. Osvaldo gets them through after he has a little chat with the guard. The truck starts going, but after a very short ride, they are stopped by the partisans shooting at them. Vero shouts to the leader: "Don't you know me? It's Vero." The leader realizes it is Vero and relaxes. But now he wants to know if Osvaldo and Luisa are with them. Yes, they are. The leader wants Vero to turn the couple over to him. Vero says they will stay with him.
Flashback. Count Arrivabene wants to speak with Luisa. He comes over with flowers and tells her that he comes on behalf of Golfiero, his cousin. There's a note with the flowers. It's from Golfiero and says that Luisa should follow the officer. So Luisa goes with the officer.
Back to the present. Vero, Osvaldo, Luisa and Golfiero hug the side of the building in fear of possible snipers. Golfiero is shot and goes down. The partisans rush to them and start looking for the sniper.
Flashback. Luisa sees Golfiero and goes over to hug him. He tells her that he crossed the line and joined the Allies, who parachuted him into northern Italy to do undercover work. He adds: "I'm here to take you away to Milan." Rome has been liberated and she could hide in his home. But he doesn't want to take the talkative and arrogant Osvaldo with them. He says Osvaldo is too much with the Italian fascists. But Luisa makes it perfectly clear that she is not leaving Osvaldo behind. She goes home to Osvaldo.
Back to the present. Golfiero wants to see Luisa, but not Osvaldo. Luisa goes to visit the wounded man in the hospital. He is still alive, but fading fast. He tells Luisa that he has made Vero promise that she and Osvaldo will get a fair trial.
Flashback. Osvaldo and Luisa are together. Once again Osvaldo is going through withdrawal from cocaine.
Sturla goes out and gets some cocaine for Osvaldo. He comes back with just a few doses. He says itís hard to find the drugs these days. Sturla says that they should go to Milan. It will be easier to get morphine there. But Luisa will need to come along to entertain the wounded in Milan because this will be their pretext for going to Milan. Luisa objects that the morphine is for the soldiers, not addicts. This infuriates Osvaldo. He sends Sturla out of the room.
Now Osvaldo and Luisa both go all out to insult each other. After a lot of insults are traded, they both flop on the bed and as Osvaldo hugs her legs, they both cry like babies.
In Milan Osvaldo and Luisa are buying morphine from an orderly. All of a sudden Pietro Koch of the Special Police, Italian SS, and his men come in to stop the transaction. Koch suddenly recognizes both Osvaldo and Luisa. He says he is a big fan of the two actors -- the best male and female actors in all of Italy, as he says. Koch is going to let the two actors go, but he pulls out his pistol and kills the orderly, after the fellow had given over the money from Osvaldo to Koch. Blood is splattered onto Luisa's face and dress.
Back to the present. Luisa sits with Golfiero as he calls out for his mother.
Flashback. Pietro Koch has a dinner party with Osvaldo and Luisa as the guests of honor. His wife Desy is a big fan of Luisa. She is even obsessed by Luisa. Koch says Desy even looks like Luisa. Luisa is troubled by this, but does say yes, Desy does look like her.
Osvaldo says to Koch: "Where do you put the prisoners?" Koch looks stunned at the question and answers: "What prisoners?" Osvaldo now says: "The ones you torture for the Nazis." Koch hesitates for awhile, but then blurts out with: "Want to film them?"
Koch takes Osvaldo down to the prison cells. A man is mopping up the blood off the floor from the various tortures. Osvaldo starts filming. This upsets the prisoners. A woman violinist gets up and starts screaming at Osvaldo: "Why are you with them?" She says Osvaldo is an artist and needs to get out of here. He needs to get away from them.
Luisa has been having nightmares and goes to see a doctor. The doctor informs her that she is three-months pregnant.
Golfiero is on a street trolley in Milan. A bunch of soldiers get on the trolley. Their leader is none other than Osvaldo. Golfiero pretends he doesn't see Osvaldo, but Osvaldo sees him. He goes over and sits by him. He is interrupted by a bunch of school girls who want to have his autograph and they ask him about his next movie. He says he is making a movie to be called Wild Blood. It's about two men who fight over one woman. One of the girls asks if his rival in the film is a bad guy? Osvaldo says both men are both good and bad. He adds that the move will be directed by Italy's greatest director: Golfiero Goffredi. After that Osvaldo leaves the trolley with his men. Golfiero breathes a sigh of relief.
Koch wants Luisa to make love to Desy while he watches. Afraid of possible reprisals, she does make-out with Desy. Luisa whispers something to Desy and Desy tells Koch to put the pistol away because it bothers Luisa. Koch puts it away.
Luisa comes home with lots of morphine (probably a gift from Koch). She injects the drug into Osvaldo's arm. She then tells Osvaldo that she doesn't want the baby. Osvaldo is shocked and he asks: "You're expecting a baby?"
Osvaldo watches Luisa as she sleeps. He then stomps on the morphine vials, crushing them. He leaves to turn himself over to the partisans.
Back to the present. Luisa kisses Golfiero in his hospital bed. He asks her what name will she call her baby? She says he will be named Golfiero after him. He then talks about his having had the chance to have a baby with Luisa. To cheer him up and give him something to live for, she says he will live for many more years and they will have ten children together. Golfiero dies.
There are scenes of liberation in Italy. The Italians start beating up and shaving all the hair off of Italian women who had relationships with German soldiers. They also round up those who were collaborators with fascism. And, finally, there is a scene of Mussolini and his mistress hanging dead upside down in a public square with jeering people all around the two of them.
Milan, April 29, 1945. A trial of sorts begins for Osvaldo and Luisa. It's hard to believe, but Koch is the prosecutor. (The man should have been executed already for war crimes, but here he is.) The first witness for the prosecution is Sturla. He keeps refusing to incriminate his friends Osvaldo and Luisa, but Koch keeps verbally torturing the fellow until Sturla turns his head backwards to look at Osvaldo and asks him what he should do? After a long pause, Osvaldo responds: "Tell them what they want."
At night Vero with some of his men come in to tell the defendants that he is moving them this very night. He also says he is going to set them free. They are put in the back of a truck. After awhile, the truck stops at a secluded, bombed out area. The truck is backed up to the buildings. He has Osvaldo and Luisa get out of the truck. He tells them: "Go, you are free." The couple is tentative and fearful. They slowly walk away from the men who are lined up along the truck. They hold hands and lean on one another. After they have walked a ways from the partisans, they both look back. The partisans open up on the couple with automatic weapons.
A partisan comes to Vero and tells him that they have placed the sign by the bodies. He adds that they have carried out justice.
Back to the start of the film.
The girl and her brother are winding up the film they found stretched down the street. As they come closer and closer to the film roll's beginning, they suddenly see the two dead bodies of Osvaldo and Luisa. The sister reads the sign: "Executed: Osvaldo Valenti and Luisa Ferida".
Good movie. Sad movie. My wife and I both enjoyed it. Following the defeat of fascism, the Italian public wanted to punish virtually anyone who started, worked with or even collaborated with fascism. They wanted revenge on those who had brought such a disaster upon them. But mob justice is not real justice. Do the punishments fit the crimes? Often the sentences or damages dealt out by the public on the fascists and fascist collaborators were too severe. Justice should be tempered with some compassion and empathy. Osvaldo and Luisa were not fascists. In fact, they were closer to being anti-fascists. But they did choose to work with the fascist movie industry even though they did not perform in real fascist films. Maybe they should have gotten out of fascist Italy, but they stayed. Did the punishment fit the crime? I don't think so.
Monica Bellucci as Luisa Ferida and Luca Zingaretti as Osvaldo Valenti were both very good.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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