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Directed by Pier Giuseppe Murgia
Produced by Franco Cancellieri
Written by Pier Giuseppe Murgia
Starring Lara Wendel
Eva Ionesco
Martin Loeb
Music by Giuseppe "Pippo" Caruso
Jürgen Drews
Cinematography Elias Lother Stickelbrucks
Distributed by New World Pictures
Release date(s) Italy December 18, 1977
USA September 19, 1978
Running time 127 min.
Language Italian

Maladolescenza (German: Spielen wir Liebe) is a 1977 film directed by Pier Giuseppe Murgia.


Cast and crew


  • Directed by: Pier Giuseppe Murgia
  • Book: Pier Giuseppe Murgia
  • Camera: Lothar Elias Stickelbrucks
  • Music: Giuseppe "Pippo" Caruso, Jürgen Drews
  • Music Editing: Grandi Firme della Canzone
  • Company: Petra Cinema 23/Seven-Star/Petra Cinematografica spa
  • Scriptwriter: Peter Berling
  • Dialog: Dieter Geissler
  • Italian version: Barbara Alberti & Amedeo Pagani
  • Cinematography by: Elias Lother Stickelbrucks
  • Color Pictures: Technospes Spa , Roma, Italy
  • Production Management: Günter Prantl
  • Costume Designer: Isolde Jovine
  • Audio: Alexander Hillebrand
  • Assistant Camera: Wolf Bachmann & Horst Zagolla
  • Decorator: Helga Wandl
  • Assistant Director: Anita Rakosi
  • Film Editing by: Inga Seyric
  • Producer: Franco Cancellieri
  • Countries: Italy, Austria, Germany


  • Lara Wendel as Laura
  • Eva Ionesco as Silvia
  • Martin Loeb as Fabrizio
  • Xylot as Iro - the dog


Laura (Lara Wendel) and Fabrizio (Martin Loeb) have been meeting every summer in the forest by her parent's summer home. Fabrizio is a solitary boy with only his dog for company; Laura a sweet, but unconfident child. This summer new aspects enter into their story as both are growing up. The film represents them as part child, part adult. Part naive, part knowing. Laura is falling in love with Fabrizio, while he displays a new sexual awareness of her masked by his malice.

Fabrizio becomes inexplicably cruel. He accelerates his unwarranted torment of Laura in many ways, including tying her up and putting a snake near her and killing a pet bird she is fond of. Fabrizio prides himself on being 'king of the forest' and rubbishes Laura's tender attempts to be his queen. One day they climb the "Blue Mountain", a mysterious tall mountain at the forest's edge and discover ancient building ruins. Exploring these they find a cave. Inside, Fabrizio seduces Laura.

Fabrizio's cruel streak is boosted by his new sexual confidence. At one point he virtually forces himself on Laura, much to her upset. He does relent when she makes it clear she wants Fabrizio to be gentle with her, which he ridicules.

Things develop further when they meet Sylvia (Eva Ionesco). Unlike the previously virginal Laura, Sylvia is confident and assertive. Fabrizio develops a fascination with her, eventually bribing Laura to fetch her to the forest to join them in play. Sylvia aware of Fabrizio’s interest in her, asserts herself in his affections, quickly replacing Laura and demoting her to servant and victim, which Fabrizio takes delight in. Laura, reluctant to leave her old friend and new lover, stays and becomes the target of the duo's ever progressing cruelty. At one point, they both 'hunt' Laura with bows and arrows and at another, pretend to throw her off a high ledge. They make love in front of her, insisting her punishment is that she must watch, leaving Laura confused and heartbroken.

At the end of summer, with the girls talking about returning to school, Fabrizio becomes pensive and agitated. He insists on taking Sylvia to the ruins for the first time. All three of them go into the cave to escape a thunderstorm and Fabrizio again pretends they are lost as he did with Laura. Sylvia breaks down sobbing for her mother, all traces of her confidence and maturity lost in the fear of being in the cave. Fabrizio repeatedly begs Sylvia to stay with him forever. In the morning, Sylvia is still lost in the cave and further rejects the desperate Fabrizio and his pleas to stay with him. She becomes hysterical and he kills her with a knife, feeling it is the only way he won't lose her. He stays with the dead body and gives Laura the flashlight telling her she knows the way home and Laura reluctantly leaves.


The film was co-produced by two Munich companies as well as an Italian enterprise, from 17 August to 16 September 1976, filmed in upper Austria and Kärnten. Chosen to play Sylvia was young Eva Ionesco, herself no stranger to controversy, as her mother was famous in their native France for her photos featuring a then five year old Ionesco in semi sexual artistic photography.


"Maladolescenza" is known primarily for its use of young actors and actresses in scenes involving both nudity and simulated sex. It's largely unseen in all but a few countries primarily for this reason.

In Germany, although released uncut in cinemas at 91 minutes in 1977, public outcry caused for several scenes to be removed on its home video releases, namely all instances of nudity, sexuality and death involving children, bringing the running time down to a meagre 77 minutes.

In 2004, a German cult DVD distributor, restored these cuts in a re-mastered version running at 91 minutes. This version was later banned in German court on 28 July 2006, condemning the material as child pornography, successfully withdrawing all copies from distribution.

Its worldwide circulation is largely unknown to this day, including in Italy and France where seemingly no DVD or home video releases have ever been made available.

Masterpiece or Exploitation?

"Maladolescenza" has a reputation of anything from a beautiful work of genius, to the lowest form of titillation. Modern reviews have appeared online defending the film as an artistic work, citing it as uncompromising and uncomfortable viewing, but a beautiful film exploring the complexities of teenage sexuality and sexual awakening. Many decry not only the young age of its three actors but scenes involving animal cruelty.


Maladolescenza Soundtrack
Studio album by Pippo Caruso
Released May 1977, July 2004
Recorded 30 December 1976-3 January 1977
Genre Soundtrack
Length 31:43 (1977), 49:21 (2004)
Label Cinevox Records, Digitmovies AE

The music was recorded in stereo at Dirmaphon Studios, Rome, Italy. The original release contained the first 18 tracks.

  1. "Maladolescenza" (02:23)
  2. "L'incubo E Il Serpente" (02:12)
  3. "Citta Segreta" (01:59)
  4. "Il Labirinto" (02:40)
  5. "Re E Buffone" (00:50)
  6. "La Villa Misteriosa" (01:06)
  7. "Silvia" (01:25)
  8. "Caccia A Laura" (01:40)
  9. "Il Sopravvento" (01:07)
  10. "Cara Adolescenza" (02:01)
  11. "Scambio Di Consegne" (02:29)
  12. "Ninna Nanna A Nascondino" (02:07)
  13. "Silvia E Fabrizio" (01:59)
  14. "Identificazione" (03:26)
  15. "La Villa Di Notte" (01:13)
  16. "E Gia Autunno" (01:19)
  17. "Adagio Per Oboe" (01:06)
  18. "La Notte Dell'attesa" (02:13)
  19. "Maladolescenza" (02:44) Alternate Take #1
  20. "Silvia" (01:10) Alternate Take #1 Harpiscord & Orchestra
  21. "Maladolescenza" (02:55) Il Recinto Dei Giochi
  22. "Silvia" (02:28) Alternate Take #2 - Music Box
  23. "Il Labirinto" (Part 2) (01:10)
  24. "Silvia" (01:29) Alternate Take #3 - Solo Flute
  25. "Maladolescenza" (01:54) Kamasutra
  26. "Scambio Di Consegne" (02:28) Alternate Take
  27. "Silvia" (02:02) Alternate Take #4 - Harp & Orchestra

External links

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