This ridiculous, gaudy work of autobiography is the product the self-indulgent young mind of Italian actress (now a writer-director), Asia Argento. She's a tough-as-nails goth-kitten whose father is virtuoso horror director Dario Argento, and not only does she look like him physically (hard to picture, but she's still quite sexy), but she directs with the same lascivious touch. This is her first film and she's created a brutal, oversexed world in which she plays a hot young actress named Anna Battista, who really just wants to direct. Only trouble is, her schedule is pretty full, what with all the fans pawing at her (both male and female), and the drug overdoses and the attempted rapes (she fights off the sleazeball producers handily), and on top of that, she just found out she's pregnant and the rock-star/father is on tour in Japan. This is the kind of film that you can't take your eyes off of because you're seeing somebody's "id" projected very directly onto the screen æ it's like a hymn to Argento's own overblown sense of personal tragedy. She has no self-censoring mechanism when it comes to filmmaking. This can be a good thing (if your name is, say, David Lynch), but if what you've got to say about your own life resembles nothing so much as a Harold Robbins novel, maybe it's time for good sense and restraint to enter into the picture. Argento may have a good eye for salaciousness and garish visuals, but Scarlet Diva seems to have been made for an audience of one: herself.
Published Sep 01, 2000