Thursday, April 12, 2012

Women in Fury (Michele Massimo Tarantini, 1985)

It's got the word "women" in the title, and, as luck might have it, the very same title has also contains the word "fury," which is another way of saying, "uncontrolled anger," and I loves me some uncontrolled anger;  in fact, other than Kenneth, it's my favourite kind of anger. Anyway, this is what those of us in the women in prison appreciation racket like to call a "win win." It's got women, and they're furious. There's no way you could possibly mess this up. Wait a second. What's going on over there? It looks a man in beige slacks running down the street. Why, for the love of criminy, is a man in beige slacks chasing Jared Leto with a beard? (The man in beige slacks, by the way, isn't carrying a beard, it's just that the man he's chasing bears a striking resemblance to Jared know, if he had a beard.) Huh. Well, hopefully we'll get back to the lady jail in order to see what kind of dehumanizing ordeal our plucky female protagonist is going to be put through next. Nope, it would seem that we're still watching the man in beige slacks in hot pursuit of his hirsute, Leto-esque prize. What the fuck is going on here?!? Who is this asshole? And why is hogging so much screen time? When I turned on Women in Fury, I was under the impression that there would be women in fury, not earnest prison doctors who wear beige slacks in fury. You'll have to excuse my petulance, this my third Brazilian WiP flick in as many days, and I'm feeling less cocksure than usual. What I mean is, I've come to expect certain genre specific idiosyncrasies to be present in my Brazilian WiP flicks, and when these structural characteristics fail to manifest themselves in an overly succinct manner, I get nervous; some might say, I get antsy. In a perfect WiP world, every WiP film would take place entirely inside the walls of a penal facility, whether it be a labour camp on the Eastern Front or a squalid hellhole teetering on the brink of anarchy out in the suburbs of Penetanguishene. But that world, unfortunately, doesn't exist, so directors like, Michele Massimo Tarantini, will continue to insist on telling WiP stories that involve scenarios that transpire on the other side of the concrete and barbed wire. 
In a veiled attempt placate my irritation over the inclusion of so many scenes that feature Dr. Cuña (Henri Pagnoncelli), a bushy-haired do-gooder who works as a prison doctor, let's change gears by focusing on the outfits the inmates are forced wear during their stay at this correctional institute for dangerous women. After all, the unveiling of the prison garb is my favourite part of the WiP experience. A precursor for things to come, the skimpiness of the uniforms usually tells me right off the bat if the film is going to be waste of time or a perverted delight. Sparsity in the fabric department is also great indicator of what kind kink the director likes with his coffee. Well, even though they're a little too bulky for my taste, I thought the costumes the ladies wore throughout Women in Fury were visually and functionally alluring.
Since the other two Brazilian WiP movies I've seen, Bare Behind Bars and Amazon Jail, seem to morph into fugitives on the run pictures during their final thirds, it only makes sense that Women in Fury continue in that tradition. And since the jungles of Brazil are quite unforgiving when it comes to basic survival, the wear and tear that occurs on their once cumbersome garments after spending a few hours in the rainforest causes them to grow exponentially sexier the longer they toil in the relentless heat.
If there's any chance that their outfits are going to get to the point where they're literally hanging on by a thread, the relative harmony of the prison population at large needs to be disrupted by an outside agitator. While her outward demeanour might not exactly scream sturm und drang, the wrongly convicted Angela Duvall (Suzane Carvalho) is just what the prison has been waiting for in order to create the necessary amount of dyke-based upheaval.
After being leered at by one of the guards who accompanied her during ride in the paddy waggon (the screw visually devours her stems with animalistic intensity), Angela enters the building she'll be spending the next eighteen years. Removed of her fancy courtroom clothes, Angela is quickly given a bluish robe and shown to her cell by the prison's head matron (Rossana Ghessa). Stepping forward in a manner that lead me to believe she was going to be the "Albina from Women's Prison Massacre" of the Woman in Fury universe, Neninia was a complete bust in terms of trying to fill Albina's lofty loafers. I mean, other than acting menacing while eating a banana, displaying some semi-threatening body language, and getting bit by a snake, she brings nothing to the WiP table. There was a second there when I thought she was going to be this particular film's Valeska from Bad Girls Dormitory (Neninia boasts to Angela upon meeting her that she's the girl who can "gets things"), but that didn't materialize either.
The action soon shifts to the prison's exercise yard, where we find Angela sitting on a bench, Soledad Miranda in Eugenie de Sade-style, with a despondent look on her face. It's a good thing Denise (Zeni Pereira), a large woman whose bra is always partially exposed, came along and befriended Angela when she did, or else Joanna (Gloria Cristal) and Paola would have made mincemeat of her. Well, Paola would have; Joanna doesn't want to kill Angela, she only wants to have unprotected lesbian sex with her. You see, Paola is intimidated by Angela. And not because she's tough or particularly strong, but because she's a hot piece of ass. She's worried the head matron is going to cast her aside and make Angela her go-to source for dew-laden girl pussy.
Do I blame her? Hell no. The head matron has already poked her nightstick underneath Angela's bluish robe to get a better a look at her right tit, and judging by the shit-eating grin on her face after she deposits the curvature of Angela's right tit into her woefully depleted spank bank, she likey, she likey a lot.
Actually, if you think about it, Paola is the only character in Women in Fury who comes the closest to channeling the exquisite insanity Albina from Women's  Prison Massacre was putting out there as that film's primary bully/stoolie/enforcer. While it's true, Paola doesn't quite share Albina's flair for the dramatic, she does have one shining moment in the WiP sun. It comes after Angela returns from lapping up the hypothetical contents congealing in and around the head matron's humid undercarriage. The idea of Angela slowly hiking down the head matron's black panties in her office instead of her, causes Paola to become incensed. Confronting her as Angela was trying to rest her overworked mouth and genitals, Paola tells her, "I'm built better than you! I've got hot blood in me!" I liked the way she opened her robe as she was telling her this. And, I have to admit, she's absolutely right, her body is a bronze-tinged masterpiece.
"Look, I'm the only one who knows how to please her, so stay away from her, you snotty cow!" ~ Paola
Luckily for Angela, the prison's most dominant lesbian, Joanna, steps in and saves her from the beat down Paola was surely to inflict on her. What gave you the impression that Joanna was the dominant lesbian at the prison? Well, when it comes time initiate Angela, her cellmates hold her down and hit her with wet towels. Lying spread eagle on her bed, Joanna, after they're finishing beating her, slinks over to the bruised Angela, and lies on top of her. The idea is to extract erotic pleasure from her organic structure via kissing and touching. But more importantly, the fact that she got first dibs to sexually assault Angela told me that Joanna, not Paola was the big cheese when it came to lesbian affairs.
As Angela is being hosed down, beaten with towels, and almost hanged in one scene, Dr. Cuña has taken upon himself to clear her name. Instead of gazing at his nurse's killer drawn on eyebrows in his free time, Dr. Cuña makes his mission in life to exonerate Angela, whom he thinks is innocent. Tracking down Sergio, her drug addict brother, Dr. Cuña slowly but surely uncovers a vast conspiracy. Okay, maybe it wasn't that vast. But it does involve the Captain Bonifacio (Leonardo José), a military general of some sort who runs the country's prison system. Either way, something stinks.
The manner in which Dr. Cuña seemed to thrust himself into Angela's business was really off-putting. Sure, he was just trying to help, but I have a nagging suspicion the only reason he gave a shit was because he thought she was attractive and wanted to temporarily store certain items (i.e. his penis, the tip of his tongue, etc. ) inside her lusty frame for salacious safe keeping.
Unfortunately, just as the prospects that Dr. Cuña might get his wish were starting to look halfway decent, a prison riot breaks out. Instigated as a result of a gruesome decapitation out in the yard, it's total chaos, as a handful of the guards have their rifles taken away from them. (Free tip to all you prison wardens out there: Never allow firearms to be carried within the walls of your prison.) While most of the inmates end up facing the watery sting of the water cannon and a throng of baton-wielding riot police, all the women from Angela's cell who still have their heads manage to escape into the jungle.
Since the film does a terrible job at creating memorable characters with distinctive personalities, the women, most of which don't even have names, are eventually whittled down to three. With no-one left to root for, Women in Fury pretty much turns into yet another chase movie. Other than the clever leaf transition scene (we follow a leaf floating down a stream as it goes from one location to another within the span of ten seconds), the rest of the film nothing but dogs barking and lots of running set to the sound of bongo drums. In other words, it's deadly dull.

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