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Enrico Maria Salerno,
After "Amore mio aiutami", the irresistible couple Alberto Sordi-Monica Vitti gives another memorable sample of prowess with "Polvere di stelle", probably the best of their lucky artistic association. If translated in English, "Polvere di stelle" means "Star dust": a perfect title thinking that the homonymous song was very popular during the 40's -in which the plot is mainly placed- and bitterly consistent with the narrated vicissitudes. "Polvere di stelle", in fact, deals with the tragicomic story of a couple of Italian artists, Dea Dani (Monica Vitti) and Mimmo Adami (Alberto Sordi), great stars of the "avanspettacolo" during the Second World War and successively fallen into oblivion. "Avanspettacolo", i.e. the introductory variety turn highly popular in Italy till the beginning of 60's, was characterized by poor means and a low artistic level: actors were slightly more than strolling players, dancers and musicians often came short of expectation and the scripts were rough and silly. Nevertheless, public beloved "avanspettacolo" because its performances were cheap and not seldom very enjoyable. Unfortunately, the arrival of television and the change of trends decreed its unavoidable end. Many of its artists were soon forgotten, obeying to the hard rule that was already the leit-motiv of Chaplin's "Limelights". Also Dea Dani and Mimmo Adami do not escape from such a law: in 1973, old and penniless, while looking for a manager with the weak hope to be hired for a show, they stop a group of passers-by telling them their story made of hunger, success, flirts and delusions. Their tale, which is a flash-back into the 40's, is thus the occasion to assist not only to a charming sequence of "avanspettacolo" numbers but also to give a singular and picturesque portrait of Italy across the Second World War.
Alberto Sordi is both director and main character of a movie for which the word "masterpiece" is not exaggerated. The witty remarks, the nice choreographies and the amusing songs composed by an inspired Piero Piccioni testify that "Polvere di stelle" is a moved homage to the world in which Sordi actually developed his endless talent. Monica Vitti is his ideal partner, as usual: Roman like him, her participation is always sparkling and delicious, thanks also to a genuine and never coarse sex-appeal. An extraordinary movie, then, that cannot lack in the collection of all the Italian comedy's lovers.
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