Star Maker, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Amid a backdrop of political unrest, a talent scout, Joe Morelli (Sergio Castellitto), searches Sicily for a film star. He arrives announcing that for 1500 lira he'll take a screen test of aspiring actors and perhaps in a month, the studios will call. Children, shepherds, government workers and fishermen find their way to his camera to recite lines from Gone with the Wind. Alone with the camera, people often express hidden aspects of their personality. One man who hasn't spoken since the war, tells of the massacre of his regiment. A mother desperately wanting an escape from poverty for her daughter trades sex for a screen test. A policeman confesses he longs to be an actor, and he's even translating Shakespeare into Sicilian. Finally, Joe meets a young woman, Beata (Tiziana Lodato), worthy of attention. He confesses to her that he is a fraud and never intends to send the film. Joe ends up in prison, and when he gets out two years later, he goes in search of Beata and finds her ill. He recalls the faces he photographed and the poignant, true things they said. The Italian scenery is glorious and the immersion into the cultural and historical place is fascinating. However there are better, more appealing Italian films than THE STAR MAKER with its English subtitles.

THE STAR MAKER has a worthy theme about fraud and deceit as Joe's illegal actions garner reprisals. But the American-style screen violence and graphic sex don't really serve a purpose. The cold brutality of the times is marked by things like a naked dead man floating face down in the river. A man is taken to prison for killing his retarded son, and the Christian Democrat Political Party marches through town wearing white robes and hoods. Also, Joe is unmercifully beaten by the Mafia before he is taken to prison. Beata takes off her clothes in a total nude scene so an older man can look at her. Later Joe seduces her, graphically teaching her to open-mouth kiss. Then, in a long scene, they lie together naked and have sex. However, by the end of the film, Joe has paid a high price for his crime and he is obviously a changed man. This film by the maker of Cinema Paradiso with its foul language, one incident of severe violence and graphic sexual content is much darker and more explicit than the earlier film.

Preview Reviewer: Theresa Zumwalt
Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., NY, NY 10017

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (13) times - Mild 6, Moderate 7

Obscene Language: Many (19) times - F-word 9, s-word 9, other 1

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 4, Exclamatory 1

Violence: Once - Severe (Mafia thugs beat the filmmaker)

Sex: Few (2) times (graphic with nudity)

Nudity: Several times (rear view of naked dead man, female frontal nudity, sex scene nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (suggestive situations and dialogue; young boy pretends to sexually gratify himself)

Drugs: Alcohol drinking once


Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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