Four directors tell tales of Eros fit for a 1970s Decameron. Working-class lovers, Renzo and Luciana, marry but must hide it from her employer; plus, they need a room of their own. A ... See full summary »
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Four directors tell tales of Eros fit for a 1970s Decameron. Working-class lovers, Renzo and Luciana, marry but must hide it from her employer; plus, they need a room of their own. A billboard of Anita Ekberg provocatively selling milk gives a prudish crusader for public decency more than he can handle. The wife of a count whose escapades with call girls make the front page of the papers decides to work to prove her independence, but what is she qualified to do? A buxom carnival-booth manager who owes back taxes offers herself for one night in a lottery: a nerdy sacristan and a jealous cowboy make for a lovers' triangle. In each, women take charge, but not always happily. Written by
These three directors definitely distinguish themselves here from each other without being cocky. Well, Fellini and Ekberg may be VERY audacious, but that just adds positively to his work in my opinion. In his segment 'The temptations of Dr. Antonio' is enough material to fill an entire feature. It brings big fun and surrealism in a story about a very BIG billboard with a picture of Anita Ekberg on it holding a glass of milk. A moralistic guy (censor?) who lives right in front of the billboard (and BTW gets a very funny introduction in the film) can't accept the supposedly scandalous picture and takes action. After seeing it, I couldn't get this tune out of my head: 'Bevete piu latte' (you must drink milk) which is a commercial tune for the billboard. It is all very carnavalesque, versatile and entertaining. It's a pity Giuseppe Rotunno (Amarcord, Città delle donne, il Gattopardo, Carnal Knowledge) didn't dignify this segment with his cinematography (as he DID with Visconti's poetic segment which has a much more distinct atmosphere and has less special effects).
The common factor between the three segments is a (light) moral discussion about what sexual borders people can have and what must occur to make them actually think about it. Where exactly lies the border of your taboos? The film is also watchable as plain entertainment, for the three starring ladies are captivating and intense here (though in general I don't like Ekberg that much). Romy Scheider played a girl in the silly 'Sissy' (1955-57), but is already glorious with her subtle impression in this segment of a mature lady who gets double-crossed by her fiancee and takes revenge.
I didn't see the segment 'Renzo e Luciana' unfortunately, because it was unavailable :(, but I guess I liked Fellini's part best and De Sica's least (as most of his work): De Sica had some better short films in 'Ieri, oggi, domani' (1963, all starring Sophia Loren). Or it could be that I liked the first two segments best, because there was Nino Rota's (Godfather, Amarcord) score under them. De Sica's segment is just not interesting in any way. Nevertheless this is a triptych of the highest order: underrated.
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