"Italian for the Beginner" is almost the primer it sounds from the title. The story concerns a shy Frenchman who isn't sure he will like Italy, but comes to do so because of the bounty it offers. Sounds like any movie, right? Well, the bounty here is sex, and in the amazingly capable hands of director Lucas Kazan, this primer is so forceful that it might deserve an award from the Italian tourism bureau for doing so much to promote the natural wonders therein.
Mathieu Laffite is the fellow plunked down in Italy. He begins the film by nervously telling his mother that he's homesick and doesn't know the language. In the meantime, we find Eric Flower, an Eastern European gem of a man with a thick muscled body and a face that fits such a figure, sitting in a few inches of water, his cock hard, as he instructs Leon, a tattooed South American with a sinfully edible ass, to disrobe slowly. Though the ass is tempting, Eric goes first for the cock, gently licking Leon's balls and the dick, not racing for the instant gratification of a blowjob. Once he gets there, though, he pounds it off, sucking Leon fully with a fast peppy blowjob. Leon cums on Eric's chest quickly and then it's off to a comfortable bed where Eric gyrates on all-fours and shows off his gorgeous ass, touching himself in such a way that a partner isn't really needed, but instead becomes a huge bonus when Leon rejoins him to mock-fuck him. Leon gets to suck Eric, doing a fine job on the thickness, with Eric moaning softly. In no time, Eric has dotted his stomach with cum. Leon finally makes good on that earlier teasing and fucks Eric missionary. Starting with a fast-paced friendly fuck, Leon is sensational. He drives into Eric, biting his lips for intensity. Eric's asshole is perfectly molded to Leon's dick. It's worth noting the austere black walls and blood-red sheets, so dim they give you nothing else to look at but the guys, a wise decision from the ever-intelligent Kazan. Leon's intense energy only ends with his cum-shot.
The relationship this scene has to the plot is that Mathieu has been knocking on the door waiting for them as they have been sexing it up. Not getting an answer, Mathieu takes out his camera and starts snapping pictures of the photogenic livestock. He then spies Matthias Vannelli and Roberto Giorgio, truly two of Europe's finest, and photographs them. Roberto, eating an apple, definitely shows off for the camera, but when it's time to begin their scene, they head indoors. Inside, bright white walls and sunlight pouring through the main windows replace the darkness of the first scene. So, too, the scene has an added dash of alertness to match. Matthias, with his killer body and strong-featured face, is sucked first by the estimable Roberto. Roberto gives one of the most inspired blowjobs I've ever seen him give, and considering how hefty Matthias' cock is, that's saying something. Roberto runs up and down the length of it with aplomb until he splashes all over his own chest as he's sucking. Matthias then has a great shot on Roberto's gleaming skin. This match-up of hulks finds Roberto sitting down on Matthias to ride him as they kiss, in a difficult half-sideways position. The fuck wisely eschews the antics of the last scene, and instead focuses on the burning sensuality of Roberto riding, who is so wide-eyed with lust that he barely blinks. Matthias then fucks Roberto doggy, adding a bit of force, but the fuck remains smooth and endearing. Matthias pulls out to unload his whopper cock before Roberto produces another fine shot.
Mathieu finally meets up with Eric and Leon, who drive him to Verona. Since Mathieu is a photographer, we get to see Verona in all its splendor through the eyes of a camera, a clever trick handled beautifully here. Mathieu dreams that night of Roberto and Eric: Eric is showering, slowly soaping, getting his glistening skin even more so, the water slowly cascading down his body in beads that seem hesitant to leave the opulence of his body. Done with the soaping, but still under water, Eric takes his fat uncut cock in hand and beats off. The dream ends there because Mathieu awakens to hear some sex.
His fantasy man, Eric Flower, is now engaged with Daniel Nicolaus, a dreamy tinted-blond who is grabbing at Eric's ass when the scene begins. This scene is filmed in moonlight, adding yet another unique feel to a totally different scene, giving it instantly the allure of late-night randy behavior. Things start in a 69 position, with Eric zestfully sucking Daniel's long dick, doing so with nice oomph. Daniel is chewing on Eric's balls and this tickle gets Eric to shoot impressively. Mathieu, intrigued by the sounds, goes to watch the rest of the scene. He arrives in time to see Eric pounding the heck out of Daniel, fucking him with oodles of energy, counter to any of the amiably energetic sex seen previously. This is animal lust. Watch Eric's gargantuan thighs as he slams down into Daniel, flat on his belly. It's major power. Eric, still working below, has Daniel sit on him to ride, Daniel's cock as hard as his abs. Daniel is a welcoming bottom, so Eric can continue his savage work with Daniel bounding up and down as well. Daniel stands up to cum and then Eric has a second big shot.
In the morning, Mathieu spies Roberto and Jean Franko suggestively sucking on a banana for his delight. However, before Mathieu can see too much of it, a very gracious Giorgio Salieri, with short-short hair and tanned muscles on every inch of his body, pins Mathieu against a wall and begs him to love Italy by kissing him. Shy Mathieu is thin and reedy, with none of the cascading muscles of the others, bee-stung lips are his most noticeable feature, but look up a bit and you'll see brown eyes so inviting I dashed off an R.S.V.P. before I realized I had nowhere to send it. Anyway, Mathieu's shyness doesn't matter in the face of Giorgio's brashness, and the latter finally fishes out Mathieu's astonishing cock. I mean, it's as thick as it is long and anyone playing with it has to be careful! Well, Giorgio goes for broke, giving it a wonderful blow, so full of base energy. The blowing doesn't take long before Mathieu is cumming. Mathieu then sucks Giorgio and he gives the story's best blowjob, getting down more of Giorgio's scary curved cock than anyone has a right to. Shown from underneath at one point, you see how much Mathieu's mouth stretches to take it in. Giorgio can't help but slice away into Mathieu's mouth since he's getting it so good.
To heighten the tension of Mathieu's big scene, Kazan intercuts it with the Roberto-Jean pairing. Jean, another unique figure with hair covering most of his stunning physique, including a full beard, stands with Roberto and they kiss as they jack. Their kissing is soft, but their jacking is not. There's lots of intense stroking until Jean grabs onto Roberto and pulls a cum-shot out of him.
Mathieu gets to fuck Giorgio. He does so with apparent ease, but only for a brief moment before Giorgio goes sliding into him. To get that cock to go so easily into any ass shows yet another layer of talent that anoints Mathieu as one of the stars of this story. Giorgio fucks him with no care about the shape or size of his cock and Mathieu takes it beautifully. Giorgio goes ape between Mathieu's cheeks and doesn't have to slow himself down at any point. Mathieu can't seem to take his eyes off Giorgio. Giorgio then fucks him doggy, with the same wild energy, the same ability to get his cock inside his bottom with absolute sheer talent. He pulls out to cum on Mathieu's ass.
Roberto then blows Jean's thickness and of course handles it with perfection personified. He doesn't even need his hands until it's time to get Jean to produce a very pent-up shot all over Roberto's chest. They then hit a 69 position with Jean blowing into Roberto's ass before fingering it and finally licking it. Roberto is licking at Jean's cock, but the focus is on Roberto's sublime ass and it's prep by Jean. Jean then fucks Roberto with playful attitude, bouncing in and out of his ass, another set of tree-trunk thighs providing the heft for an excellent fuck. Jean then turns Roberto over for a sideways fuck that is sensationally frisky, and allows the men to kiss as it progresses. Both guys cum almost simultaneously as the scene ends.
Naturally, Mathieu ends the story as he began it, on the phone with mom. This time, however, the beaming ing nue tells her he knows he'll love Italy. The power of its people has gripped him. Well, Giorgio has gripped him quite literally, but seeing the sexual possibility of the men in Italy has certainly warmed him up to the surroundings. Another winning opus from Kazan, though this one isn't operatic in its themes, it's simply delivered, but with the panache and lan of his bigger pieces. With a cast so ideal that the wonderful sex is a forgone conclusion, "Italian for the Beginner" was impossible not to love.
*** Highly, Highly Recommended ***
-Brent Blue, ManNet
"Another romantic look at continental Casanovas from director Lucas Kazan, Italian for the Beginner is an arousing loop film -- hunky men, hot sex, handsome videography. Italian for the Beginner attempts to tell the tale of a lean, dark-eyed young Frenchman (first-billed Mathieu Laffite) on vacation in Italy. He is the first person we see, asleep in his bed, in his well-packed briefs. The phone awakens him, and he converses briefly with his mother, confessing, "I wish I were home. I don't know anybody. I don't speak Italian." But his general malaise seems caused by more than a language barrier -- and at first one suspects from his nervous erection and his melancholic demeanor that he has not yet come to terms with his sexuality. Or is he suffering from his unrequited love for his traveling companion?
The film then bounces into its first sex scene in which a big, dirty blond (the popular Eastern European star Eric Flower) is discovered sitting in a marble tub, playing with himself as a super-macho brunet (the mononamed Leon, a Brazilian inked with several oversized tattoos) stands by, towel in hand. (It is not until later that we learn Flower is Laffite's traveling companion, but we never do learn whether Leon is a trick, a hustler or a member of the hotel staff.) We do learn very quickly, however, that he has a well-toned body, a great ass and an airborne erection. Flower promptly devours him and brings the guy -- whoever he is -- to his first orgasm of the scene within minutes.
Things become a bit more relaxed as they move to the bed. Flower offers up his beefy ass, and Leon slides beside him, kissing his ear, teasing his ass with hard-cock-between-the-buttocks action, tongue-kissing and eventually going down on him. In time, he hoists Flower's muscular legs into the air and throws a tough-talking fuck into him, then sprays his load all over Flower's sinewy thigh. They barely have time to catch their breath before there is a knock at the door. It is Laffite, waiting to go sight-seeing.
There follows a well-lensed travelogue section in which Lafitte seems strangely distant from Flower and Leon -- jealous or just anti-social? -- and he spends most of his time snapping photographs rather than participating -- the classic voyeur. Among the sights his camera captures are a pair of working men (both gym-built brunets, both in overalls, Matthias Vannelli and Roberto Giorgio). Laffite wanders off, and the action cuts (rather gratuitously, it seems) to a whitewashed room in which the two workers are going at each other hot and heavy. Vannelli has a particularly thick cock, and Giorgio, of course, knows exactly what to do with it. The oral action cuts from one position to another, the best of which finds Giorgio sprawled in a chair while his standing partner face-fucks him. The anal action, with Giorgio sitting on Vannelli, is also potent stuff, and each explodes twice before the sequence is over.
More sightseeing and an even greater sense of Laffite as the classic outsider lead us to that night. Again, our hero lies in bed, fitfully dreaming. Images of Giorgio, Vannelli and, most of all, Flower flit through his subconscious -- but the star of his nocturnal fantasies is clearly Flower, who works his way through a hot little shower solo that explodes in a notable money shot that awakens Laffite. When he hears noises in the next room, he hastily moves to the door, his oversized erection bloating his briefs.
The viewer sees what Lafitte only hears, and, of course, it is Flower going at it again, this time with a model-handsome blond (Daniel Nicolaus) whose physique is as enviable as his face. Their sweet-talking sex is gorgeously lensed, bathed in blue shadows pierced by hot shards of warm light. They grind into each other before slipping into a 69 in which Nicolaus nibbles on Flower's balls and thrusts upward into his partner's waiting lips. (This soon brings Flower to orgasm -- no surprise!) Outside, Laffite begins to work his own airborne erection, seemingly amazed by what is happening, and his copious orgasm seems almost endless. Then, as if confused by what he is feeling, he slips back to bed. Flower and Nicolaus finish off their evening's entertainment in which the blond pretty boy rides the supine Flower's ever-ready erection to another pair of impressive money shots. This is the most romantic, most arousing scene of the film and the sequence in which Flower effortlessly usurps the production from its intended star.
The next morning, in the dining room, Lafitte watches Giorgio having breakfast with another trick (hairy Jean Franco). They flirt with him, but before he gathers the courage to respond, another youth (crewcut Giorgio Salieri) pulls him away and murmurs, "Welcome to Italy." Laffite gets the idea, and soon they are kissing and grinding crotches. Salieri kneels and brings the amazed Laffite to orgasm. Then the action cuts to Laffite already kneeling and attempting to reciprocate, but right in the middle of the blow job, the action cuts to Giorgio and Franco stroking their erections in their room.
Laffite, though a striking screen presence, is not the sex pony needed to carry the film, for his sexual skills are tentative and awkward, and the footage is surprisingly brief. This is especially true when he attempts to fuck Salieri -- and manages to do so for all of 15 seconds before the action is aborted to cut back to Giorgio and Franco. Thank goodness for them, for both are hot men who know what they're doing. And though the scene is totally gratuitous, their sucking and fucking (Franco into Giorgio) sizzles. Intercut is a bit of footage of Salieri's low-key missionary fuck of Lafitte, who mostly stares in awe at what is happening to him before eventually managing a nervous grin, but the sequence ends with a final spate of Franco and Giorgio's powerhouse plowing.
Rating: 3.25 stars.
-Jerry Douglas, GAY CHICAGO MAGAZINE