Short Skin – I dolori del giovane Edo’ directed by Duccio Chiarini (Italy 2014) 

Edoardo, or Edo (Matteo Creatini), is a serious, sensitive and intelligent 17-year-old virgin whose hormones are at odds with his physical development.

He would like very much to have sex but is frustrated in his fumbling attempts to do the deed primarily because he suffers from phimosis, or tight foreskin.

This is a delicate subject for me as I also have this condition although fortunately not to the degree that it causes serious discomfort or pain. It did however make me wonder if I would have had a better sex life if this condition could have been corrected in my teens.

Unlike women, who visit gynecologists as routine means of maintaining physical well-being, men would only visit doctors or urologists if they had problems and even then might put off a visit as long as possible. I can never remember any doctor checking my privates and I have never volunteered to be probed in this area.

Duccio Chiarini

Duccio Chiarini was present at the screening at the 5th edition of the Cinema in Piazza season in my home town of Cesena  He said that the film was autobiographical although was quick to point out that he never masturbated using a dead octopus!

You can easily imagine how the topic of this movie could have been milked for puerile comic potential but , while there is plenty of  humor in the movie,  you never forget how debilitating and traumatic Eto’s situation is. It deals with a serious topic with a lightness of touch and presents adult themes with maturity and understanding.

Matteo Creatini

Matteo Creatini is very convincing in the role and I strongly identified with both his desperate shyness and physical awkwardness. In saying this, I have to confess that the strong Tuscan dialect he, and other characters, use meant that the dialogue was hard to follow. I need to brush up on my colloquial Italian too (“Come si dice ‘hand job’ in Italiano?!).

The sex scenes are realistic rather than voyeuristic and are far cry from the kind of titillating images you find in mainstream ‘entertainment’. Popular culture tends to shy away from the themes presented in this movie.

The sub-plot surrounding the rocky marriage of Eto’s parents is an unnecessary distraction but the boy’s relationships with his sister, his more macho friend and potential love interests are very well drawn.

The discomforts and uncertainties experienced during adolescence are painfully authentic and are a reminder that the teenage years are no bed of roses.  Duccio Chiarini’s debut feature puts the glib, formulaic American rom-coms in perspective and this movie therefore deserves a far wider distribution than it will probably get.