It’s not easy being a “butt man” in a boobies world. When it comes to flesh and the female form in movies, the breast has always reigned supreme and, as a result, the butt man is often left behind.
So it was with a combination of cautious optimism and scholarly interest that I watched Cheeky!, Italian director Tinto Brass’s homage to the perky posterior. The movie was okay, but Brass’s comments in a DVD behind-the-scenes interview were heartening to all devotees of the derriere.
“I would like to propose myself to television with a program,” said the 67-year-old auteur. “There are some who read your palm. I’d like to go there [television] and read your ass. I would like to call it Not Just Vagina. Can you just imagine the success?”
Like any connoisseur of the caboose, Brass gave a great deal of thought to the subject of his movie before the cameras rolled for Cheeky! The director cast Ukrainian actress Yuliya Mayarchuk in the pivotal role of Carla, a young Venetian who learns that cheating on her boyfriend adds spice to their previously lackluster love life. In Mayarchuk, Brass found a willing accomplice toward his goal of shedding light on the psychology of modern women.
“Each woman is the ass that she has,” Brass says. “Actually, in addition, the ass is the mirror of the soul; in this specific case, it’s the mirror of that gorgeous Slavic soul, Yuliya Mayarchuk, who’s the lead actress of the movie.”
Although Mayarchuk was an acting unknown when the film was released in 2000, Brass had a hunch that her moon was about to rise. “She’s very good-natured, she has a great temperament, and she has a very cute little ass,” said the aesthetically minded filmmaker. Brass’s intent with Cheeky! was, first and foremost, to advance the cause of feminism through the character of Carla: “She’s a modern woman who is fully aware of her sexuality and sensuality, and of her right to enjoy it without subduing herself to a chauvinist mentality,” he said.
Just as that other cinematic giant, Alfred Hitchcock, inserted himself into his own films via cameo appearances, Brass inserted himself, and his finger, into both the movie and his young starlet. This occurs during a scene crucial to the plot in which … well, all right, perhaps the scene isn’t crucial to the plot. But Brass was intent on exploring bigger issues:
“It’s an old habit, a fixation of mine, a belief that in order to discover women’s lies, all you just have to do is look at their ass. Because, as opposed to the face, which is a hypocrite mask capable of faking and lies, the ass doesn’t lie.”
Or, to paraphrase the Eagles, you can’t hide your lying ass. Grade: B
Director: Tinto Brass Cast: Yuliya Mayarchuk, Jarno Berardi, Francesca Nunzi, Max Parodi, Mauro Lorenz, Leila Carli, Chiara Gobbato Release: 2000
Above, director Brass gives star Yuliya Mayarchuk a pointer on method acting.
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