Radio Quarantine -Piero Umiliani ‎– I Piaceri Proibiti (1963)

The music Piero Umiliani provided for this documentary about sex workers in Italy was a lot less provocative than the subject matter. There’s a lot more old style swing in the jazz than even earlier works but maybe the idea was to be more playful to lighten the film itself. That’s a hard call now more than half a decade after the fact. He concocted a lot steamier, sexier and even sleazier mixes for less exploitative movies. Works for me though, and that’s all I’m looking for with these.

I think sleazy was the word I was looking for when I referred to some of Umiliani’s work as cheesy. Cheesy is kind of how the films and the accompanying promo art comes off, but even with that it’s more that it seems dated. It’s of a time, but then again films were marketed differently then. The poster was what you saw when you walked by the theaters that your parents rushed you past. But again it was a different time. Film as an art-form was pushing boundaries. Sex and nudity were pretty new and often earned a movie a rating that would limit audiences. The question was where is the line between art and pornography, and is there one? We take for granted sex scenes now that would have had the censors popping off in the 60s, anywhere on the planet, and in particular The United States.

Is there a defining line between art and porn? Where would it even be? Can porn be art? That’s a discussion for another time. I’m more concerned now with the music.

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