Andrea Zaccardi has returned home from hunting. He and his wife Luisa are very close. Their young son Giulio develops a cough. The doctor recommends the seaside. Luisa leaves with Giulio ...
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Andrea Zaccardi has returned home from hunting. He and his wife Luisa are very close. Their young son Giulio develops a cough. The doctor recommends the seaside. Luisa leaves with Giulio for several weeks. Andrea stays to work at the metal shop... While visiting his family, Andrea notices a young woman on the beach with her soldier boyfriend. The weekend over, the girl is on the bus home. Rita recognizes Andrea from the neighbourhood. They talk, walk home, say good night... Rita's brother Gino is trying for a job at the metal shop. Andrea helps him make the grade. Rita comes home to find Gino's new mentor there... Andrea apologizes. Rita tells him she is now engaged. Andrea spends a restless weekend with Luisa... Rita is working late at the office. Andrea appears. They kiss... Written by
This is a very fine drama from Pietro Germi who is better known for his later comedies. It starts as a low-key family story eventually involving (reluctant) adultery on the husband's part. When he tries to break it off his lover won't accept that it's over, but rather than turning into Fatal Attraction it reaches a tragic conclusion that, in the best Italian tradition, acknowledges the messiness of life without blaming anyone. It also avoids the trap of reducing a woman's death to a vehicle for the protagonist's character development (as in The Hustler) - nobody learns any life lessons, just the irreversible consequences of a wrong decision.
What is really extraordinary about the movie - something I don't recall seeing anywhere else - is the switch of narrators at the very end. The husband's voice-over has been telling the story throughout, until in the last scene the wife's voice takes over and gives her perspective on the outcome. I'm not sure if this is aesthetically "correct" but it seems to me a brilliant reversal of the usual privileging of the male point of view. Sometimes the rules just need to be broken.
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