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|Index||23 reviews in total|
You know the plot.
Sunflower was Vittorio De Sica's last film. It was dismissed by the critics as hopelessly maudlin melodrama. But anyone who cares enough to be reading this no doubt knows the humanity he crafted into every frame, and the beauty and sadness of life it evokes.
Henry Mancini's theme song is, IMVHO, the very best he ever wrote. I'm reduced to tears every time I hear it. Yet it seems Mancini himself treated as a lesser child. His daughter recorded it to lyrics better left forgotten.
Tremendous drama. Loren is magnificent as a woman who fights to re made his life after she descovered his missing husband/ italian soldier Mastroianni is living a new life in Kruschev's Russia. The final escene at the railway station is superb. Dont miss their face expressions. Mancini composition still sounds in my ears.
In Naples, in World War II, the local Giovanna (Sophia Loren) has a
torrid love affair with the soldier Antonio (Marcello Mastroianni), who
is ready to embark to Africa. Giovanna proposes him to get married with
her to get a leave of twelve days; then Antonio pretends that he is
insane and he is sent to an asylum. However, the doctors discover the
farce and they give the option to Antonio to go to the Russian front as
volunteer instead of being sued. When Antonio is missing in action in
Russia, Giovanna does not accept that he is dead. Years after the end
of the war, Giovanna travels to Russia with a picture of Antonio to
seek him out in the countryside. When she finds a lead in a village,
her hope becomes disappointment with truth about his disappearance.
"I Girasoli" is one of the most famous romances of cinema and discloses a beautiful story of love, hope, truth and renounce. Vittorio De Sica explores the chemistry between Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni to the best, supported by a magnificent cinematography and the wonderful soundtrack of Henry Mancini, which certainly is among the most beautiful ones of the cinema history. The screenplay uses much ellipsis, and my remarks are the lack of dates, leaving the viewer without any reference of how many years have passed; further, the dialogs in Russian that are not translated. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Os Girassóis da Rússia" ("The Russia's Sunflowers")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are few scenes more moving or more powerful than the scene where
Sophia meets her husband in Russia.
The scene is at a train station: he's on the arriving train and she's waiting on the platform. A huge number of people get off the train and she's looking at everyone through the chaos of moving bodies. She doesn't really expect to find him, but hope is still alive.
She sees him through the throng, he sees her.
The wordless communication between them as she gets on the train to leave and he stays on the platform watching her go is nothing less than thrilling. It's a great cinematic moment - a great moment of acting for Loren.
It is, perhaps, the single scene for which I shall always remember her.
Another Matroianni-Loren combination, if you liked "A Special Day", you'll
like this one too. Unusual in many ways, it is a co-production
and it was shot on location in both countries. Notable also the
between scenes of 1945 and 1960. An Italian soldier does not return from
WWII and his wife eventually goes to Russia to find him many years after
war ended, only to dramatically find him in a living situation in a
family. He too will travel to Italy, but to find her in a living
and he too will return alone. The title of the movie ("The Sunflowers")
point to the main crop the fields of Russia that italian soldiers tried
retreat from in months of walking and walking. It's amazing that this
is not available on video, maybe because it is slightly politicized in
social portrayal (in the trip to Italy, the ex-soldier finds prostitutes,
clear sign of degradation of society of the West in the view of soviet
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The director Vittorio De Scica directed one of the best films depicting the tragedies and sorrows of those involved in wars against their will. Both Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni were superb in performing their respective roles as commoners living a peaceful life and who had their destiny changed all of a sudden into misery and agony. This film may be rated one of the best antiwar movies in the 20th century. I have seen this picture on my own DVD many times and each time I am deeply touched by the story. The most impressive scenes of the film are Sophia Loren's reunion with her husband who was now living a seemingly happy life with a Russian woman who had saved his life --- the reunion which was just the beginning of her tragedy. The outstanding script and the direction of De Scica as well as the superb acting of both Sophia and Marcello render "I Girasoli" a masterpiece in Italian realism in cinematography.
Sunflower (1970) 103 mins
Two newly-weds were split up when the husband was forced to fight on the Russian Front. Hearing nothing from him, his wife sets out on a desperate journey across Russia to find out if he has survived.
Includes an excellent score by Henry Mancini, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Mancini at his best!!
Shot on location in Italy and Russia which provides a dramatic background.
Sophia was never more beautiful, Marcello was never more debonair. The on-screen chemistry is classic cinema! Modern films pale in comparison to their simple and genuine portrayals captured under the direction of Vittorio De Sica.
A superb mixture of ingredients by De Sica, right down to the inclusion of Mancini as composer!
I wish I could persuade the copyright holder to re-release this title to video.
At one time I owned a copy of this on VHS, but it was destroyed. Any help locating it again (in any format) is appreciated! Looking for the soundtrack too!
I suppose this film is just a maudlin melodrama, so is the music by
Mancini. But then..., what a marvelous maudlin melodrama!... Why
shouldn't it be? what's wrong with maudlin melodramas? If they are well
done and authentic with their characters, if we get wrapped up with
their emotions..., well, can you ask for anything more?
I just saw this movie on "You Tube" for the second time. I remember seen it on late TV in Italy, many years ago, and the impression was so powerful that after somebody mentioned it a few days ago --I didn't remember any more this title until they mentioned it-- I decided to look for it and watch it again, to see after so many years if the impression was still the same (so many films are a total disappointment when seen for a second time years later), but it wasn't the case with this one.
The story is so poignant that it can hold on its own very well no matter the change in mores and film technical improvements, it definitely grabs your interest till the very end (I must admit the film is far from perfect, since, for example, there are no indications of how many years went by or the new life style Sophia's character turns to after her Russian trip.
It also has two climaxes, both marvelous, but I think they should have decided for one or the other, two climaxes is too much within the same movie, and the length should have been shortened quite a bit.
Anyhow, forget about the lachrymose side of the story and submerge yourself in it (also get some Kleenex handy because everybody will need them, and plenty) and if you have to have a good cry, well, have it and enjoy it!! (After all is just a movie).
"I Girasoli" is certainly one of the best romantic stories in an honest and pure setting in Italy and Russia. It is a dramatic love story of Antonio and Giovana wanting to stay together in the war. The impossibility to hold on to the newly found and sweetest happiness becomes inevitable in the destructive war, where Anoinio is found half frozen by a Russian woman. The accent lies in finding love in warm sunny Italy and loosing this in the freezing cold war thousands of miles away. Although in this new other world there is love too, it is never the same as before. At the end the search for the lost love is completed and in vain when life has changed there lives irreversibly. Un impossibile ritorno al passato.
I just finished watching the stunning Blu Ray of the original Italian English-subtitled version of this film--the best version available. I do not understand all the naysayers reviewing this film. If you are a fan of Loren and Mastroianni, if you are a fan of DeSica, if you enjoy a good old-fashioned melodrama that will tear at your heart, you MUST see this film! To dismiss this film as Soviet propaganda, or as unrealistic, is like criticizing "The Little Mermaid" for having a singing mermaid and talking fish. It utterly misses the point. This movie contains one of the very best, if not THE best Sophia Loren performance on film. Henri Mancini's score is unforgettable. This film makes you care about the plight of both characters. It is available as part of the new "Sophia Loren Collection" box set, and for me, this, along with "Marriage Italian Style," is the "jewel" of the set. See it!
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