Bubu (1971)
aka Bubù
Genre: Drama
Country: Italy | Director: Mauro Bolognini
Language: Italian | Subtitles: English (optional, embedded in Mkv file)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.85.1 | Length: 96mn
Dvdrip H264 Mkv – 1006×544 – 25fps – 1.45gb

Bubu leaves his job in a bakery, forces his girl-friend into prostitution, and from then on lives out of the money she makes. The young couple find their place in the world of prostitutes and pimps, but the lack of perspective in their life – which is permanently haunted by the possibility of an incurable and fatal venereal infection – and the humiliations the girl endures strain their relationship and lead to conflicts.

As gorgeous to behold as a Renoir painting come to life, this fin de siecle melodrama tells of a young laundress lured into prostitution by her sleazy and shiftless lover. Based on a novel by the French author Charles Louis Philippe, the film was meant to be shot in Paris – until budget woes forced director Mauro Bolognini to relocate it to the northern Italian city of Turin. If anything, the switch works to the film’s advantage. This story of love, lust and disease is a universal one. For all the pretty period trappings, the casual way in which the characters infect each other – one by one – with syphilis feels starkly contemporary in the age of AIDS. Exquisite on the surface but black at heart, Bubu is neither comfortable nor easy to watch.

As usual with Bolognini, the acting is first-rate. Ottavia Piccolo (so annoying as the insufferably virtuous wife in Metello, the director’s best-known film) gives a powerful performance as Berta, the hapless young hooker. The pretty-boy Italian pop icon Massimo Ranieri fares surprisingly well as Piero, an idealistic student who tries to redeem her. Yet the film belongs to Antonio Falsi, who oozes reptilian sex-appeal as her ghastly lover and pimp, Bubu. Visually, the film is a triumph for cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri and designer Piero Tosi, whose costumes here are as stunning as those he did for Visconti on Death in Venice that same year.


Bubu (1971)