Luna (1979)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama  |   Run Time - 142 min.  |   Countries - Italy, USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Incest has often been part of the subtext of Bertolucci's films, but his decision to bring it to the foreground on this occasion leads the film perilously close to the world of camp. Teenaged Joe (Matthew Barry) is the son of opera singer Caterina Silveri (Jill Clayburgh). He believes himself to be, but is not, the son of the ineffectual Douglas (Fred Gwynne), his mother's husband. After Douglas commits suicide, the life of the rebellious boy spirals downward. Possibly Bertolucci's worst film, there's little that can be salvaged from this mess. For starters, it expects the audience to accept that the cherubic Barry would believe that the equine Gwynne was his father. Then, the boy becomes a heroin addict due to the death of this father who he couldn't relate to in the first place. At last, the mother nearly commits incest with the son, presumably believing this to be the standard cure for heroin addiction. One wonders what John Waters might have done with this material. Clayburgh and Gwynne do well with difficult parts, but Barry, who is the center of the film, clearly had no business being in front of a camera at this point in his career.