Two junkies have agreed to let themselves be used as models for a sadistic photography who tortures them during his session, only so that they will get drugs from him in return. The photographer shares these photographes with a mysterious woman.
Before going into Lorenzo Lepori's feature "Resurrection in Blood" I figured I'd check out this short film that he also included while I'm waiting for him to send a better cut of "Resurrection in Blood" (his words). It's a weird feeling going into reviewing a film by Lepori since he seems like such a great guy, yet I haven't given his films good reviews. But he takes it rather good and actually thanks me for reviewing his work still, and even continues to send me things to review. That makes it really hard to tear him a new one, which isn't my intention anyway since I feel the movies at least come off as a products of a film lover. With "Cinque Cerchi Roventi", which I believe translates into something like "Five hot rings/circles" (but I'm not sure), I'm giving him my nicest review of his films to date. Although not flawless, I think it's his best work that I have seen.
From what I can gather, "Cinque Cerchi Roventi" is about two young junkies, a girl and her boyfriend, who are willing to offer their bodies to a sadistic photographer who is paying them in drugs. The photographer puts some of these pictures in an album, and gives the rest to a strange woman he seems to work with. The pictures are taken under rough conditions, where he's hitting the girl, burning her with a cigar, among other things. One photo session leads to the death of the junkies, which angers his female "friend". This leads to her attacking him, and the brawl takes a rather surreal turn towards the end.
Or at least that's what I think is going on. It's not that the movie is complex, just that it's not really masterful storytelling. It's actually quite a simple movie, though, and I think that's why this was easier to enjoy than the other films I've seen by Lepori. Unlike both "I Love You Like a Twist" and "Il Vangelo Secondo Taddeo", this is only about a handful of character, in one setting: an apartment. It's also his most mean-spirited film, and maybe because it's so simple it doesn't come off as a stupid film in the same way. Although flawed overall, I didn't mind "Cinque Cerchi Roventi" too much. It drags a few scenes, sure, but I had expected way worse from the director by now.
The main thing here is violence and filth. It doesn't come with the greatest FX or acting, but it's still a worthy watch if you want to watch senseless violence and independent gore. There's a number of bloody scenes, and I think it's safe to say that Lepori should focus more on pulling off simpler, dirtier stories instead of weird splatter crime flicks. You won't cringe when you watch "Cinque Cerchi Roventi", but you might get a thrill from a few of the scenes. And being an independent filmmaker myself, I found great joy in some of the good AND bad effects (the bad effects reminded me of my own "creations"). The biggest problem FX-wise is actually the ending. As strange, random and Cronenbergian as it is, it didn't look good so that brought the whole movie down a lot. But at the same time it brought out a little chuckle simply for that reason: that is was so random and looked bad.
I won't praise "Cinque Cerchi Roventi", but Lorenzo Lepori managed to make something at least decent here. It suffers from a few things, such as acting, dragging a few scenes and being too dark and hard to see at times. But it also has a tone over it that works. And the earlier scenes with the photo session are rather sadistic to watch, in that typical no-budget way. And of course, it takes a few strange turns (what were really the holes on the back of the "mysterious woman", and what's up with the body horror-ish ending?). Overall, a step up for the director, even if it's still decent at best. It's something he should work further on as I believe it will garner attention if he keeps on doing these kind of films.