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An acid portrait of Italian youth at the time, I DELFINI follows a dreary season of discontent and viciousness in the lives of a thoroughly unpleasant group of mostly rich youngsters in a small Adriatic coast city.
Anna Maria Ferrero
The original Italian is La Viaccia (the name of the family farm which motivates the plot). The death of a wealthy patriarch in 1885 sets off an interfamily power struggle. Son Ferdinando ... See full summary »
The place is Trieste and the time is 1927. Emilio Brentani leads a peaceful and uneventful life with his older sister Amalia. At least until the day he meets Angiolina Zarri, a beautiful ... See full summary »
There certainly must be a way to present Moravia's tale in cinematic form in a manner that suggests the art animating the story, but that will have to wait for some future occasion. It would help to have a director who had some subtlety or artistic talent - there's no evidence of any art (or much craft) in Francesco Maselli product here. A parade of dated stylistic effects, the whole thing suffers further from the lack of any nuanced acting. Steiger is unbelievable as an Italian, Cardinale merely pouts, Paulette Goddard seems to be imitating the aged Gloria Swanson in some other movie...and less about Shelley Winters' pathetic attempt to portray a complex Italian sophisticate later. Moravia's glimpse of the arid emotional state of Italian society after the War presumably requires nuanced writing and acting to bring off. Watching this film, which contains nothing like that, one can only wonder: could the original story really be this bad? The answer is, No, it's this film.
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