Alcove, The / L'alcova (1984)

3.5 out of 5

With The Alcove director Joe D'Amato makes a serious attempt at making a period erotic drama of the kind one may associate with Maestro Tinto Brass. While not quite scaling the lofty heights of the more acclaimed director D'Amato here does manage to pull off something that is both genuinely engaging and at times incredibly sexy.

Al Cliver plays a soldier returning from the battle in Abyssinia with a black servant in tow, a spoil of victory, played by Laura Gemser. She is presented to the officers wife played by Lilli Carati of To Be Twenty fame who begins a lesbian affair sidelining her original love played by the incredibly beautiful, and one time girlfriend of Cliver, Annie Belle.

While the unchained love of the monstrous dark continent angle is played to the full in the character of the servant Zerbal there is, underlying the whole piece, a certain sadness within the dysfunctional petit-bourgeois household.

With an eye for period detail and the occasional soft focus this is a film that works pretty well for what it sets out to achieve and often a mile from some of the low rent exploitation often more associated with the director. Nello Pazzafini however is woefully underused.

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