Confusing part out of the way first: although this movie has been titled Cheeky! on the covers of this and previous video releases, the official title that appears onscreen is Transgressing, which is the English-dubbed version of the Italian film Transgredire. With me so far? While there's certainly a lot of cheeks (nudge nudge wink wink) in this film, I don't know why this title was used other than to appeal to those looking specifically for that and little else.
The only Tinto Brass film I had seen previously was Caligula, which is his most well-known but he has also disowned that one due to the external meddling that went on with that. This one is much more light-hearted and fun. The plot is rather simple: Carla (Yuliya Mayarchuk) moves from Venice to London, to be joined later by her boyfriend Matteo (Jarno Berardi). In London looking for a place to stay, Carla meets rental agent Moira (Francesca Nunzi) who immediately has the hots for her and suggests she move in with her. Carla declines but rents a loft from her instead. Meanwhile she calls Matteo back home, who gets into a stage of jealousy after looking through some old letters and photos she had left. He starts suspecting her of cheating on him while he isn't there and isn't sure if he really wants to join her in London or not.
The plot seems mostly an excuse for nudity and soft-core sex scenes which are Tinto Brass' trademark. Carla finds opportunities for these at a party, a trip to a spa, and a couple flashback scenes, one featuring a cameo by director Tinto Brass as a photo developer who fondles her while giving his opinion on her pictures. Though there is a fair amount of what the MPAA would call "graphic nudity", the actors obviously aren't really "doing it" as they do in porn. Still, it's likely that those who don't like porn aren't going to like this very much either.
Somehow this movie's existence managed to elude me until this Blu-Ray disc came out. From the cover it appeared to be a 70s-era exploitation flick, which I always welcome. No date is given on the packaging except for the 2012 copyright for the Blu-Ray disc. Upon watching it, I was guessing that it was probably from the 80s judging from many of the fashions and the way the movie was shot, until I saw characters using cell phones in a few scenes. Finally in the end credits I saw that this movie was released in 2000- color me surprised. Looking at some comments on IMDB, I'm not the only one who felt this way.
Cheeky! (or Transgressing) is presented in 1080p in 16x9 full screen (1.78:1). This is a very nice-looking movie overall with lots of nice bright colors and of course ample amounts of flesh tones. Focus of the image is slightly softer than most films, thankfully that hasn't been tampered with on the disc. Overall it looks exactly as it was intended.
Although there is a Dolby Digital logo in the end credits, the audio tracks on this disc are only in 2-channel Dolby. (Having run 35mm projection equipment, I know that none of the digital film sound formats allow for 2-channel matrixed sound, although the home formats do which is what we get here.) It possibly could have been a misprint, but in any case the 2-channel mix is still good with lots of ambient sounds. The dialogue is a bit unusual, at least compared to American films. The original Italian language track obviously sounds like the dialogue was dubbed in after filming. Dialogue in some scenes has a studio-like sound to it, while other scenes have an artificial echo which doesn't fit what's on the screen. The English-dubbed track actually sounds much more natural, like the dialogue was actually recorded on the film set rather than separately in a recording studio.
The print used for this disc has the English title (Transgressing) and includes credits for the "English version". The Italian language track is on Audio 1, with the English on Audio 2. Comparing the English dialogue to the subtitles, it's obvious that the subtitles are more literal translations of the Italian dialogue while the English dialogue has had some liberties taken with it.
The Blu-Ray disc also includes a 6-minute behind-the-scenes video (shot on video in 4x3 standard-def), in Italian with optional English subtitles. Tinto Brass explains the movie's original Italian title (Transgredire) and speaks candidly about his philosophy of women. There is also an English-language theatrical trailer, which is obviously not of the green band sort! Finally there is a brief slide show of production stills.
While not for everyone, Cheeky! is nice eye candy, plus American viewers at least can watch it in the original Italian with English subtitles and pretend they're partaking of high art. Recommended.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.