Stay as You Are

Stay as You Are (Italian: Così come sei), also known as Stay the Way You Are, is a 1978 Italian–Spanish erotic drama film, directed by Alberto Lattuada, starring Nastassja Kinski, Marcello Mastroianni, Barbara De Rossi, and Ania Pieroni.[1] It follows the May–December romance between a vivacious young coed and a middle-aged professional who is unhappy in his marriage.

Stay as You Are
US theatrical release poster
Directed byAlberto Lattuada
Produced byGiovanni Bertolucci
Screenplay byAlberto Lattuada
Enrico Oldoini
Story byEnrico Oldoini
Paolo Cavara
StarringNastassja Kinski
Marcello Mastroianni
Barbara De Rossi
Ania Pieroni
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyJosé Luis Alcaine
Distributed byNew Line Cinema (United States)
Columbia Pictures (Internationally)
Release date
  • 14 September 1978 (1978-09-14) (Italy)
  • 21 December 1979 (1979-12-21) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes

New Line Cinema gave the film a limited theatrical release in the United States on 21 December 1979. The film was scheduled for release by Cult Epics in May 2015 on DVD and Blu-ray.[2]


While in Florence on business, Roman landscape architect Giulio Marengo meets an alluring college student, Francesca, and spends the night with her. She is the foster daughter of an agriculturist named Bartolo who has looked after her since the death of her mother, Flora. Later, a friend of Giulio's sees Franscesca in a restaurant and implies that she might be Giulio's daughter. It is a possibility since Giulio had been going out with Flora the year before Francesca was born. Shocked by the idea, Giulio tries to cool his relationship with Francesca. Meanwhile, he is distracted by the revelation that his unmarried daughter Alexandra, who is about the same age as Francesca, is pregnant.

Giulio tries unsuccessfully to get to the truth of his alleged paternity, and finally decides to tell Francesca the reason for his conflicting behavior. She flatly dismisses the insinuation, however, saying she regards Bartolo as her only true father. She then accompanies Giulio on an uninhibited holiday in Madrid, where Alexandra has gone to try to sort things out with her lover. Upon returning to Florence, Giulio must get back to Rome to attend to his business affairs, but that night, Francesca insists they see the movie Vampyr together, and he falls asleep. Upon waking up, she is nowhere to be seen, indicating that their love affair has run its course.



With Stay as You Are, I dropped the grotesque style that had characterized my last film. I went back to the spirit of Guendalina and Sweet Deceptions, of which Stay as You Are is the ideal sequel.

—Lattuada, on his thematic approach[3]

Director Alberto Lattuada shot scenes for the film at various locations in and around Florence, including the Piazza San Giovanni, the Piazza San Marco,[4] and the Boboli Gardens.[5] The opening title sequence was shot on the grounds of Villa La Pietra.[4]

The musical score was composed by Ennio Morricone, who previously collaborated with the director on Matchless. A soundtrack album was released in 1978 by Cinevox,[6] and again on 14 July 1995 by Prometheus Records.[7] The soundtrack is notable for its inclusion of the love theme "Amore per Amore", as well as the two disco tracks "Dance On" and "Spazio 1999".[8]


This film received positive reviews, especially for Nastassja Kinski's performance. According to the American poster for this film, Bruce Williamson of Playboy called it "A truly sexy film".[9] Time magazine also praised Kinski's performance saying, "Kinski is simply ravishing, genuinely sexy and high-spirited without being painfully aggressive about it."[10] Conversely, Janet Maslin of The New York Times called the film "dangerously smarmy at times—dangerous because its cheapness undermines Mr. Mastroianni's essentially serious performance, which is the backbone of the movie. The film works best when the story seems to generate its sexual encounters spontaneously. But there are too many times when the plot looks like a pretext for stringing together amorous interludes."[11]

Because Kinski was just 17 years old at the time, her many nude scenes created controversy.[12] She has since disapproved of the nudity in the film on a number of occasions. Recalling the film in a 1981 interview with People, Kinski said, "There was no one prepared to say, 'She shouldn't do that. There is no point.' No one to protect me. I was just a young girl, in Italy. It was stupid."[13] In 2001, Kinski reiterated her dissatisfaction with her performance: "Let's put it this way, if that was my daughter, I wouldn't allow that. I wouldn't allow certain people to say certain things or to try certain things."[14]


  1. "Cosi' come sei (1978)". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  2. "Classic Alberto Lattuada Film Heading to Blu-ray". 3 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  3. Cosulich, Callisto (1 January 1985). I film di Alberto Lattuada (in Italian). Rome: Gremese Editore. p. 114.
  4. Zambenedetti, Alberto (15 October 2014). World Film Locations: Florence. Intellect Ltd. pp. 68–69.
  5. Simonis, Damien (1 March 2006). Lonely Planet Florence (City Guide) (4th ed.). Lonely Planet. p. 124.
  6. "Morricone, Ennio - Cosi' Come Sei (Soundtrack)". Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  7. "Stay as You Are - Ennio Morricone". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  8. Southall, James (3 August 2012). "Cosi Come Sei soundtrack review". Movie Wave. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  9. "Stay As You Are: Product Details". Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  10. "Cinema: Bedrock Taboo". Time. 21 January 1980.
  11. Maslin, Janet (21 December 1979). "Film: A New Mastroianni: Romance Across Time". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  12. Lester, Peter (13 April 1981). "After 'Tess' and Roman Polanski, Nastassia Kinski Trades Notoriety for L.A. Propriety". People. 15 (14). Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  13. "Daddy's girl". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. 2 July 1999. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  14. Jenkins, David (January 2001). "Nastassja Kinski interview: 'I've had such low self-esteem'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
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