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Vortice Mortale

The Washing Machine

Italy/France/Hungary 1993
produced by
Corrado Canzio, Alessandro Canzio, André Koob for Esse Cinematografica, Eurogroup Films, Focus Film
directed by Ruggero Deodato
starring Philippe Caroit, Ilaria Borrelli, Kashia Figura (= Katarzyna Figura), Barbara Ricci, Laurence Regnier, László Borbély, Claudia Pozzi, Yorgo Voyagis, Vilmos Kolba, Károly Medriczky, Sándor Boros, Tamás Pintér, Ágnes Dávid, Ruggero Deodato
written by Luigi Spagnol, music by Claudio Simonetti

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Budapest, the early 1990's: Dancing teacher/prostitute Vida (Kashia Figura) has just had a fight with her pimp/boyfriend Yuri (Yorgo Voyagis), then her alcoholic sister Ludmilla (Barbara Ricci) finds him dead in the washing machine. And it's not long before it's found out that Vida's other sister Maria (Ilaria Borrelli) has had an affair with Yuri ...

When inspector Stacev (Philippe Caroit) arrives on the scene, the body is gone, as are all traces of the body - and it's less than certain that there ever was a body even, since it might just have been an alcohol-induced delusion of Ludmilla. Stacev figures there's nothing to investigate, but then the sisters follow him around, all three of them, and Vida pretty much forces him into having sex with her while Maria uses more subtle methods to seduce him. Also, the women drop clue after clue after clue, and start accusing each other, too.

But still, something seems to be wrong with the whole affair - and only very eventually, Stacev figures out what. This isn't about murder, this is about a suitcase full of jewels he himself has confiscated at a crime scene but then "forgotten" to leave at the police station. Now he has found out, he plans to use the jewels to flee the country with Maria and start a new life abroad. But while he's out planning this with Maria and shagging her in the process, someone has broken into his place, stealing the suitcase full of jewels.

The next day, Maria awaits Stacev's call - but instead finds his dead body in the washing machine. He was killed by ... Yuri, who isn't dead at all but has only set up the whole game to get his hands on the suitcase full of jewels, and he has killed Stacev to teach Maria a lesson. Because in fact, he has been in league with Maria, Vida and Ludmilla all along. But now ... Maria kills Yuri! Because hey, he's been officially dead anyways, and the less persons to split the loot with, the better, right?


In a way, this could have been a good film, it's game of lies-structure is vaguely reminiscent of Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects, which wasn't made until two years later, the Budapest locations are wonderful to look at and perfectly moody, Ruggero Deodato is a competent enough director to handle any kind of thriller, and the three women playing the sisters may not be the best of actresses, but one can't denie their sex appeal ... and yet, The Washing Machine is basically a big disappointment, mainly because the script is over-convoluted and doesn't seem to be too thought through, most of the sex scenes are woven into the plot too clumsily to work, and there are a few too many plotholes - even within the game of lies - for this to make sense. A pity, really.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD