La orca (1976)

Director:Eriprando Visconti  Producer:Marcello D''Amico Story by:Eriprando Visconti  

Screenplay by:Roberto Gandus, Lisa Morpurgo, Eriprando Visconti  Music by:Federico Monti Arduini

Cinematography:Blasco Giurato  Edited by:Franco Arcalli Running time:90 min Country:Italy Language:Italian

Genre:Crime, Thriller, Drama  Subtitle:English  Starring:  Michele Placido ... Michele Turrisi, Rena Niehaus ... Alice
Flavio Bucci ... Gino
, Bruno Corazzari ... Paolo, Adriano Amidei Migliano ... Complice di Paolo,
Livia Cerini
, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Piero Palermini, Jacopo Tecchi

    Three men kidnap a teen girl named Alice and take her to a vacant house in the country, where they make her write her own ransom letter and chain her to a bed. Alice soon discovers that one of her captors is starting to develop an infatuation with her so she decides to uses his feelings to try to remain alive until she is rescued or convince her captor to run off together.

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     La Orca was directed by Eriprando Visconti, whos other notable films as director include A Milanese Story, The Lady of Monza and A Spiral of Mist. A year after La Orca, he would direct its sequel Oedipus Orca. Key collaborators on La Orca include cinematographer Blasco Giurato (Escape from the Bronx, Cinema Paradiso) co-screenwriter Roberto Gandus (Damned in Venice, Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals, Macabre). The English language version of La Orca was release under the alternate title Snatch.
     Italian cinema beginning in the late 1950s and on through the 1980s had a knack for cannibalizing whatever genre was currently in vogue at the time and milking for all that is was worth. Another area from which Italian cinema often draw inspiration from, was current events locally and abroad. Case in point La Orca, a film that owes a great debt to the kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst, by a group of radical extremists.
     The films narrative is meticulously laid with each new revelation given just the right amount time to settle in for maximum effect. Though the kidnapping serves as the launching pad for everything that follows. The heart and soul of this film is the strange relationship that evolves between the abducted young woman and one of her captors.
     Also given this films bleak subject, it is not hard to see why many viewers may quickly write this film off as a exploitation film. When in reality there is so much more going on in this film, then your run of the mill exploitation film. And without a doubt it is the way in which this film subtly interjects social commentary that is its most durable asset.
     From a production stand point, there is not a single area in which this film is lacking. The films visuals never draw attention to themselves and let the story at hand take center stage. Pacing is never a issue, once the young woman is kidnapped, things just build up at a break neck pace. There is never moment in which the viewer is given a chance to catch their breath. With the films most shocking moment saved for its finale.
     Performance wise, the entire cast are superb, especially Rena Niehaus (Oedipus Orca, Damned in Venice) in the role of Alice, the young woman that has been kidnapped. Another performance of note is Michele Placido in the role of the kidnapper that Alice becomes attached too. Ultimately La Orca is a extraordinary film that examines with the utmost precision, how easily the line that divides captive and captor can be blurred