Ballad in Blood (2016)

Ballad in Blood
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Writer: Ruggero Deodato, Jacopo Mazzuoli, Angelo Orlando
Based on: the murder of Meredith Kercher
Cast: Carlotta Morelli, Gabriele Rossi, Edward Williams, Roger Garth, Ernesto Mahieux, Noemi Smorra
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

After spending Halloween night partying, Lenka (Carlotta Morelli), Jacopo (Gabriele Rossi) and Duke (Edward Williams) wake up in Lenka’s apartment to find her roommate Elizabeth (Noemi Smorra). Still in a haze and barely able to piece together the events of the night before, the three of them try to figure out what happened.

Ballad in Blood was modelled after the Meredith Kercher murder, and then reworked so it was far enough from established facts that nobody would get sued. In a case like this one where everything has been unclear and sensationalized, this is already a problematic approach. It’s made worse by the fact that Deodato decided to go with the most misogynistic and sexist version of events possible.

After this film and The Face of an Angel, I can only say that I hope they never make another film about this particular murder. At least not with a man at the helm. Not until people stop draping themselves in the sensationalism surrounding this story and make it all about their desires. In the Face of an Angel, it was all about the writer who fails to write about the murder, in Ballad in Blood it’s all about tits.

The male gaze weighs heavily on Lenka who is one of the most sexist femme fatales depitcions I have ever had the misfortune to witness. She constantly uses her feminine wiles to get the better of Duke and Jacopo, but it’s not even clear what she’s using them for except generally for evil purposes. She doesn’t get more motivation than “that’s how women are” either.

Coupled with the mediocre acting – which has to be forgiven somewhat since Deodato doesn’t actually speak English, so directing actors in English is damn near impossible to get right – and the fact that the film was exhausting and way too long, I was pretty disappointed that I only fell asleep for a few minutes in between. I wish it could have been more.

The best thing about the film was the Q&A with Deodato himself that was highly entertaining and funny. Despite and because of language difficulties. But unless you get a Q&A as well, watching the film has to be a no. And even when you do, I’d think long and hard about watching it.

Summarizing: Hard pass.

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