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Saturday, February 11, 2017

'Short Skin' DVD: Uncut Teen Experiences Unbearable Growing Pains

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The 2014 subtitled Italian film "Short Skin," which indie film god breaking glass pictures makes available on DVD, is a terrific throwback to the off-beat art-house foreign films of the '70s and the early '80s. The title refers to the humiliating condition whereby the restrictive foreskin of late-teens Edoardo makes achieving an erection excruciating. Like the aforementioned vintage films, this medical issue is a metaphor for the constraining life that Edoardo leads in Pisa. (Insert your own leaning tower joke here.)

The following YouTube clip of the theatrical trailer for "Short Skin" offers a nice sense of the updated aforementioned vibe of the film. It further spoils some of the best scenes.

Star Matteo Creatini delivers an award-worthy performance as our everyteen, whose frustration extends well beyond the incredible challenge related to the pleasure that every boy experiences beginning in his early teens. He has a barely concealed crush on the almost literally girl next door, has a rambunctious unfiltered horndog as a best friend, is the big brother to a tween who crudely expresses her desire to have the family dog sire puppies, and his parents still love each other but are dealing with a crisis in that relationship. On top of all that, a girl with a "reputation" comes on the scene just as Edoardo is eager to deal with both his medical condition and his related virginity.

Director/writer Duccio Chiarini immediately communicates the humor and the heart regarding these characters through an opening rear shot (no pun intended) of a younger Edoardo naked from the waist down as his parents clinically examine his penis because of the aforementioned medical condition.

Another source of drama is plans of Bianca to move away imposing a deadline on Edoardo to express his feelings for her; this development further providing our boy motivation to secretly consult a doctor regarding options for his titular medical condition.

Chiarini presents all of this well in a manner that makes "Short" a film that can be made word-for-word and shot-for-shot in the United States without losing any of its message. The teen angst, jealous, and mortification regarding family antics are universal. One scene in particular shows how the comparison to the "American Pie" film series extends beyond the efforts of Edoardo and his best friend to lose their virginity before the summer ends.

The good folks at breaking nicely enhance the value of the "Skin" via their standard practice of including one or two shorts by the director of the feature film.

The first of two in this case is the 2005 Chiarini written and directed "Alone Together." This one has an Italian man temporarily living in London acting on long-standing flirtation with a diner waitress on the cusp of our (anti?) hero returning to his native land. The roughly 15-minutes in this one provides a feature film worth of character study and related trauma and drama.

"Alone" star Corso Codecasa shows that he is even better skilled at comedy than drama in the 2005 Chiarini film "Troppo caledo per Birillo." This time our hero is Vieri, who is a wonderful mix of strong emotion and contentment. This day-in-the-life tale of this man starts with Vieri and his girlfriend Marta having one in a seemingly long series of fights regarding their conflicting lifestyles.

Vieri opting to not join Marta for a day trip leaves him at odds and ends that his frustration regarding the argument exasperates. This initially leads to our manchild venting his frustration at the dog of the neighbor and these enemies ultimately having a hilariously grand adventure. The closing credits keep the fun coming,

Anyone with questions or comments regarding any of the discussed films is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.