Made in 1982, the film is set in northern Italy of 1918, during that country’s war campaigns against Austria. It’s the tale of a wealthy landowner and his only heir, a son named Marcello (played by American actor Jimmy Briscoe), who happens to be a dwarf. Because his diminutive stature is considered embarrassing to the image-conscious upper crust of which their family belongs, Marcello rarely ventures far from his family’s palatial estate, which has been commandeered by the military and turned against the family’s will into a battle hospital for injured soldiers.
However, he is smitten with a beautiful and sultry prostitute from a nearby brothel, and hopes to leave and start a new life with her. Unfortunately, things are not as they appear, and the seemingly willing object of his affections may have ulterior motives of her own.
A richly nuanced and well-made period costume drama with much to say about the horrors of war and the duplicity and prejudice we humans are capable of during desperate times, “Malamore” has never been released in the U.S. and is little-known today — even in Italy. At times erotic in nature and at others morbid and wrenching, it is a beautifully shot and unpredictable film designed to subtly mock the notion of upper-class Italians of that time being somehow uniquely suited to rule over their countrymen. It’s deserving of wider notoriety and acclaim, and will be presented in its fully uncut and restored form. If this description sounds familiar, it’s because the PFS had originally scheduled “Malamore” back in late March, but had to postpone that screening due to technical difficulties. This is the make-up date. Showtime is 8 p.m., with $7 admission for mature viewers only.