First show: May 25
Penned with poison for Hollywood by provocateur & #metoo crusader Asia Argento, this controversially seamy semi-autobiographical directorial debut, once a guilty pleasure is aptly restored for razor-sharp insight into ‘Time’s Up’.
In this quasi-confessional from 2000, Asia Argento plays Anna Battista, a young, popular, 24-year-old Italian actress who engages in a hectic and self-destructive spree across Europe and America to shed her sex-kitten image and become an “artist. The film has recently returned to the headlines when Ms. Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, pointing to a scene in the film she says was inspired by that traumatic incident.
When Argento first dropped SCARLET DIVA on the world, audiences gasped; males expecting titillation were angered and women expecting a chick-flick felt uncomfortable, to say the least. Critics ran for the hills. Outrage ensued.
In the film, “Anna sleeps around, scores hash in Paris, then hooks up with an Australian rock singer for a one-night stand. She discovers she’s pregnant with his child and decides to keep his baby even though she has no intention of stopping her drugging and self-abuse. She has a bummer K-hole trip at a London photography studio, is almost raped by a sex-crazed American producer (Joe Coleman) at Cannes, whose invitation to screen test in Los Angeles she nonetheless accepts. She burns herself with a lit cigarette, chain-smokes, smokes more hash, etc. all while pregnant. Now, as an attractive young Italian actress “import,” Ms. Argento is not “supposed” to be brutally exploring her dark psychological undercurrrents and portraying herself as an irresponsible mother, especially not in Italy!… Asia Argento is branded an exhibitionist, a masochist, and the most horrible of crimes for a female; self-indulgent. “ – “Scarlet Diva: Her Body, Her Ashtray”, Erich Kuersten, ACIDEMIC Journal of Film and Media.
“The thesis of ”Scarlet Diva” — that the cinema’s icons of young, female sex appeal are subject to constant abuse and exploitation and that they find both pleasure and anguish in such attention — is hard to dispute. Ms. Argento’s response [is] at once earnest and thoroughly calculated”
– The New York Times
“This is such a dazzlingly self-assured directorial debut that it’s hard to know what to praise first.”
– L.A. Weekly
“A demented kitsch mess…, but it’s savvy about celebrity and has more guts and energy than much of what will open this year. ” – Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times
Written & directed by Asia Argento. With Asia Argento, Jean Shepard, Herbert Fritsch, Gianluca Arcopinto & Joe Coleman as Harvey. 2000. R. In Italian, French & English with English subtitles. DCP. 91 mins.