After six months of marriage, the attractive, free-spirited and sexually insatiable housewife, Marta, already feels the passion wane and the desire for her literary editor husband, Dario, wither. However, in the background of Mantua’s renowned literary festival, young Marta will fall for the charms of an intriguingly handsome stranger, the French Leon, while admiring Palazzo del Te’s vivid murals. Of course, Marta’s scandalous affair behind her husband’s back will soon be noticed, as the suspicious Dario is engulfed little by little by the impatient and fierce flames of lust. Perhaps a dash of infidelity is all that Dario needs to awaken his dormant enthusiasm for the neglected Marta.If you’ve never seen a Tinto Brass movie, this is not a good place to start. Tinto is at his best when he’s not taking himself seriously, and in Monamour he attempts some sort of depth that he just can’t pull off. What’s worse, the plot feels like a recycled version of one of his better films – 1992’s Cosi fan Tutte – but with all the wrong choices made; Cosi fan Tutte was light-hearted and featured a strong female lead in Claudia Koll, who was in charge of her own fate the whole time; the lead in Monamour is a despicable and unlikable character who succumbs to the will of men around her. While the two characters end up having similar journeys, the viewer just can’t forgive Monamour’s Marta as he did Diana from Cosi fon tutte. And the fact that the movie takes itself so seriously makes the erotica disturbing and off-putting, unlike the playfulness in Cosi fon Tutte.
Monamour has good cinematography and some well-shot sex scenes which are both a given with Tinto, but the sex is more disturbing than it is enticing. While Cosi fon Tutte was almost feminist (sort of) and is lots of fun for a couple to watch together, Monamour feels more like a horny old man’s fantasy, and it just doesn’t work.