To Be Twenty / Avere vent'anni (1978)

3.5 out of 5

There are two versions of To Be Twenty in circulation. One, as the director envisaged is a satirical take on the counterculture that strays from Commedia all'italiana to an extremely dark exploitation ambience. The other version is a frothy and largely incoherent sex comedy. The former version is excellent while the latter is a complete waste of time.

While To Be Twenty is largely the vehicle for it's two beautiful stars Gloria Guida (Miss Teenage Italy 1974) and Lilli Carati (who also performs the theme song) fans of Eurocrime will recognise a few faces such as Ray Lovelock and Vittorio Caprioli who here takes the role of a cult leader.

While a million miles away from Fernando Di Leo's crime films this feature illustrates how he is able to weave a social conscience within genres that capture the popular mood of the time. The director's version is recommended. Gloria looks great in both versions.

The final sequence of To Be Twenty is shocking and completely out of keeping with the majority of the feature and while it is a tragedy in the making the amalgam of genres not only deliberately fail to signpost the nature of the ending but also adds significant punch to it. Viewer discretion advised.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics