People Staff
November 12, 1979 12:00 PM

Director Bernardo Bertolucci originally intended the lead in this film to be Liv Ullmann. When she was busy, he signed Jill Clayburgh. For all that it matters, he could have used Nancy Walker. Clayburgh plays an American opera singer whose husband dies in a car accident; she’s interesting as usual, and has a mildly erotic shower scene. The plot, however, forces her to take her snotty (and moonlight-obsessed) teenage son, Matthew Barry, to Italy while she resumes her career. Soon they begin eyeing each other and end up in a mother-son masturbation sequence that will discomfit even the liberal-minded. That could have been justifiable, but Bertolucci—riding the success of such films as Last Tango in Paris, The Conformist and 1900—has made Luna a morass of self-indulgence, obscurantism and artistic anarchy. The photography by Vittorio (Apocalypse Now) Storaro is beautiful, but that’s the only saving grace in a movie overpowered by Bertolucci’s Freudian hang-ups. (In English) (R)

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