Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sparks Fly Between the Lamb and the Diva

Which gets you further in life, maintaining a spirit of benevolence while enduring catastrophe, or exploiting your charm and friendships to ruthlessly destroy your enemies? 1958's Afrodite, dea dell'amore (Aphrodite, Goddess of Love) presents this question in the form of a melodrama about Christian slaves in Greece during Nero's reign. As sand and sandal movies go, this one's much more about admiring the scantily clad stars than brutal sword fights but it also presents a story that's both delightfully trashy and somewhat intelligent.

In the U.S. it was released as Slave Women of Corinth, which drastically changes how you're likely to interpret the film. The plot does centre on two beautiful slave woman--Diala, played by Irene Tunc, and Lerna, played by Isabelle Corey(both French actresses).

Lerna, along with several other slaves, is secretly a Christian while Diala is the diva, personal slave of their wealthy owner. She seduces their new Jewish owner only to betray him so she can get herself and the rest of the slaves confiscated by Antigonus (Ivo Garrani), Archon of Corinth. Then she gets to work seducing Antigonus in the hopes of ruling the city by his side.

Antigonus brings the famous sculptor, Demetrius (Anthony Steffen), to town to make a statue of Aphrodite for the new temple. Demetrius chooses Diala as his model--and actress Irene Tunc does look remarkably like a Greco-Roman sculpture.

Aphrodite herself doesn't appear in the film so the original title draws your attention to this subplot, inducing you to view Diala as a representative of Aphrodite in the underlying thematic argument. Lerna represents the rising power of Christianity. The two are portrayed as friends until both of them fall in love with Demetrius and Diala's method of handling the situation is pretty much what you'd expect from Aphrodite.

The story is a melodrama, relying on improbable circumstances to get from point A to B, like the fortuitous (for Lerna) power shift occurring in Rome at the same time, not to mention the fact that Demetrius is a pretty influential guy to have infatuated with you. So the movie doesn't exactly present a rock solid argument but never underestimate the appeal of watching drama between two beauties in tiny diaphanous tunics.

Aphrodite, Goddess of Love is available on Amazon Prime under the title Slave Women of Corinth.

Twitter Sonnet #1434

The paper plane attempts a clumsy course.
The weaving clouds reveal a knotty sun.
The headless paper clip felt no remorse.
Distracted words would clog the water's run.
The sleeping dog was meant to call the time.
Unbidden clocks arranged a breakfast job.
A posted pass reports the doctor's rhyme.
We glued the kernels round the barren cob.
In sleepy thoughts the dreaming house awoke.
The timer ticked across the kitchen floor.
The feeling came that something scaly spoke.
A shadow fluffed its hair behind the door.
Preparing lunch condensed the sink to slice.
A dicey choice reduced the roll to rice.

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