The Key (1983 film)

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The Key
Italian film poster for The Key
Directed by Tinto Brass
Produced by Giovanni Bertolucci
Screenplay by Tinto Brass[1]
Based on Kagi
by Junichiro Tanizaki
Music by Ennio Morricone[1]
Cinematography Silvano Ippoliti[1]
Edited by Tinto Brass[1]
  • San Francisco Film[1]
Running time
116 minutes[1]
Country Italy[1]

The Key (Italian: La chiave) is a 1983 Italian erotic film directed by Tinto Brass. The film caused some scandal because it contains several explicit shots of nudity (defined by critics as "gynecological")[2] and sex scenes involving the well-known actress Stefania Sandrelli.[2][3] However, the film ultimately obtained a decent level of commercial success.[2][3]


The Key is based on Kagi by Tanizaki Junichiro. The book had been previousl adapted to film by Kon Ichikawa in Odd Obsession.[4] Brass' film relocates the story to Mussolini's time and changes the setting to Venice.[4]



From a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin "Despite its solid production values, The Key has a reassuringly uninflated approach to its material." and that the film "is a much more creative use of genre than many more 'respectable' commercial attempts."[1][1]

In a retrospective review, Sight & Sound stated that "Brass makes no apology for underlining a personal preference (common to the pornography enjoyed by his generation) for frequent displays of stockings and suspenders, wispy pubic hair and above all the female posterior." while stating that "visually the film plays rewarding games with reflections and colours. But the political ambience is weakly conveyed in comparison with Bertolucci's The Conformist (1970), with which The Key shares its period, Sandrelli and producer Giovanni Bertolucci."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Pulleine, Tim (1985). "Chiave, La". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 52 no. 612. British Film Institute. p. 44. ISSN 0027-0407. 
  2. ^ a b c Andrea Bruni, Manlio Momarasca. Monamour. Nocturno Dossier n.25, Cinemabis Comm. pp. 35–39. 
  3. ^ a b Lino Miccichè. Schermi opachi: il cinema italiano degli anni '80. Marsilio, 1998. pp. 66–68. 
  4. ^ a b c Thompson, David (July 2013). "Films by Tinto Brass". Sight & Sound. Vol. 23 no. 7. British Film Institute. p. 96. ISSN 0037-4806. 

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