Commedia sexy is characterized typically by both abundant female nudity and comedy, and by the minimal weight given to social criticism that was instead basic in the commedia all'italiana main genre. Stories are often set in affluent environments such as wealthy households. It is closely related to the Sexual Revolution, and it was something extremely new and innovative for that period. For the first time, movies with female nudity could be watched at the cinema. Porn and scenes of explicit sex were still forbidden in Italian cinemas, but partial nudity was somewhat tolerated. The genre has been described as a cross between bawdy comedy and humorous erotic film with ample slapstick elements and follows more or less clichéd storylines.
This subgenre has its roots in several different series of films. The "mondo film" genre popularized nudity, shifting the limits of what could be shown in the Italian cinema. A series of successful "commedia all'italiana" of the sixties (such as Pietro Germi's Signore & Signori (1966) and Dino Risi's Vedo nudo (1969)) focused on Italian hypocrisy and shame about sexual taboos, popularizing sex-based plots.
The commedia sexy was very successful commercially between the 1970s and early 1980s, although it was generally panned by critics (with a few exceptions such as several comedies starring Lando Buzzanca), and then declined when female nudity became common in Italian mainstream cinema, television and magazines, and when pornographic films became more widely available.
The decamerotici (1971–1975)
Pier Paolo Pasolini's Trilogy of Life (consisting of The Decameron (1971), Canterbury Tales (1972) and Arabian Nights (1974), and inspired by the tales of Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and the One Thousand and One Nights) contained nudity and sex-based plots. The success of these films and the relaxation of Italian censors, beginning from the early 1970s, paved the way for dozens of soft-core productions set in medieval or Renaissance times, collectively known as decamerotic (singular: decamerotico; alternative terms include decameronico and decamerone, as well as boccaccesco). The wave of decamerotici lasted from 1971 (starting with In Love, Every Pleasure Has Its Pain) until the end of 1975, with an early peak in 1972. In total, about 50 decamerotici were produced. They can be considered the first commedia sexy films.
Other very popular subgenres (Italian: sotto-filoni) of the "commedia sexy all'italiana" included high school (Italian: scolastica), military (Italian: militare), hospital (Italian: ospedaliera) and police comedies (Italian: poliziottesca).
The commedia sexy launched the career of several actresses, including Edwige Fenech, commonly considered the stars of the genre; María Baxa and Gloria Guida the staple lead actress of coming-of-age films and the popular La liceale series in the mid-1970s; and Nadia Cassini who was publicised as an heiress to Fenech in the late 1970s. Many actresses who had earlier success in other genres were seen passing to commedia sexy and becoming well-known exponents, such as Femi Benussi in the mid-1970s, Barbara Bouchet in the late 1970s, and glamour models Anna Maria Rizzoli and Carmen Russo in the early 1980s, a period when the genre was starting to fade in popularity.
The genre is also effectively identified with prominent male comedians and actors including Lando Buzzanca, Lino Banfi, Carlo Giuffrè, Alberto Lionello, Pippo Franco, Alvaro Vitali, and Renzo Montagnani.
- Four Times That Night (1971)
- The Naked Cello (1971)
- Man of the Year (1971)
- La bella Antonia, prima monica e poi dimonia (1972)
- The Eroticist (1972)
- Ubalda, All Naked and Warm (1972)
- Malicious (1973)
- Amarcord (1973)
- Giovannona Long-Thigh (1973)
- Lovers and Other Relatives (1974)
- Till Marriage Do Us Part (1974)
- La minorenne (1974)
- Monika (1974)
- Poker in Bed (1974)
- La sbandata (1974)
- Virilità (1974)
- Innocence and Desire (1974)
- Il gatto mammone (1975)
- Grazie... nonna (1975)
- The Teasers (1975)
- La moglie vergine (1975)
- La novizia (1975)
- Private Lessons (1975)
- The School Teacher (1975)
- The Sensuous Nurse (1975)
- Substitute Teacher (1975)
- L'affittacamere (1976)
- Confessions of a Lady Cop (1976)
- La professoressa di scienze naturali (1976)
- Il medico... la studentessa (1976)
- My Sister in Law (1976)
- Quel movimento che mi piace tanto (1976)
- Ragazza alla pari (1976)
- Scandalo in famiglia (1976)
- Sex with a Smile (1976)
- Sex with a Smile II (1976)
- Coeds (1976)
- La dottoressa del distretto militare (1976)
- La compagna di banco (1977)
- Per amore di Poppea (1977)
- The Schoolteacher Goes to Boys' High (1977)
- Taxi Girl (1977)
- The Virgo, the Taurus and the Capricorn (1977)
- La liceale nella classe dei ripetenti (1978)
- The School Teacher in the House (1978)
- Il corpo della ragassa (1979)
- Night Nurse (1979)
- L'insegnante balla... con tutta la classe (1979)
- How to Seduce Your Teacher (1979)
- La liceale, il diavolo e l'acquasanta (1979)
- A Policewoman on the Porno Squad (1979)
- The Nurse in the Military Madhouse (1979)
- La dottoressa ci sta col colonnello (1980)
- L'insegnante al mare con tutta la classe (1980)
- La moglie in bianco... l'amante al pepe (1980)
- La moglie in vacanza... l'amante in città (1980)
- La ripetente fa l'occhietto al preside (1980)
- Cornetti alla crema (1981)
- Chaste and Pure (1981)
- Mia moglie torna a scuola (1981)
- L'onorevole con l'amante sotto il letto (1981)
- A Policewoman in New York (1981)
- There Is a Ghost in My Bed (1981)
- Giovani, belle... probabilmente ricche (1981)
- Ski Mistress (1981)
- Spaghetti a mezzanotte (1981)
- Mexican "sexicomedias", a similar genre in Mexican cinema that also peaked between the 70s and 80s.
- Nudity in film
- Sex comedy
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