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July 27, 2016

The Perfect Husband


Lucas Pavetto - 2014
Artsploitation Films BD

After making it's mark in the festival circuit, Lucas Pavetto's debut feature is available on home video. The filmmaker's website indicates in interest in domestic discord at least in his first two full length films. Pavetto may well be trying to create some calling card to interest Hollywood being an Italian filmmaker whose films are in English.

In The Perfect Husband, a couple goes to a house in the country, ostensibly to rekindle the passion in their marriage. It is slowly revealed that the wife, Viola, is recovering from the birth of a stillborn baby. Nicola, the husband, promises that the weekend will be fun. During dinner, Nicola gives Viola a bracelet tight enough to suggest a handcuff. The tension between the two escalates from accusations of sexual jealousy to the kind of horror that was only hinted at when the ax-weilding Jack Nicholson was chasing Shelly Duvall in The Shining.

While Pavetto goes for the gory shocks, there is a twist to the story that proves satisfying. There are brief nature shots that provide some clues. The film is an expansion of a shorter version made four years earlier, also included in this release. In some ways, I found that earlier version better in part due to the casting. That earlier version, Il Marito Perfetto was filmed in Italian, and also garnered film festival attention. For myself, the curvier Crisula Stafida is more attractive that Gabriella Wright in the longer version. Also, as Nicola, Damiano Verrocchi does not appear threatening, while the leaner Bret Roberts has a wolfish grin that may set off alarms. Roberts also appears with a "man-bun" which hardly makes him perfect.

Pavetto is one of several younger filmmakers to express interest in reviving the Italian horror film. Unlike a few others who shall remain nameless, he has made a film I was able to watch from beginning to end. Also, the shocks, while explicit, might be considered relatively restrained, without lingering on the blood and gore.

Posted by peter at July 27, 2016 05:58 PM