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A Special Day (1977)

Una giornata particolare (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | October 1977 (USA)
Two neighbors, a persecuted journalist and a resigned housewife, meet during Hitler's visit in Italy in 1938.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Emanuele, the husband of Antonietta
Françoise Berd ...
Caretaker
Patrizia Basso ...
Romana
Tiziano De Persio ...
Arnaldo
Maurizio Di Paolantonio ...
Fabio
Antonio Garibaldi ...
Littorio
Vittorio Guerrieri ...
Umberto
Alessandra Mussolini ...
Maria Luisa
Nicole Magny ...
Officer's Daughter
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Storyline

The film is set during the late 1930s: the occasion is the meeting between Mussolini and Hitler in Rome. Left alone in her tenement home when her fascist husband runs off to attend the historic event, Sophia Loren strikes up a friendship with her mysterious neighbor Mastroianni. As the day segues into night, Loren and Mastroianni develop a very special relationship that will radically alter both of their outlooks on life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A special film about two special people.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

October 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Special Day  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maria Luisa, one of Antonietta's daughters, is played by Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Benito Mussolini. See more »

Goofs

Hitler's address, heard in the background, is not from his visit to Rome but from the 1934 Nuremberg Party Meeting, more particularly from his address to the German Youth on the third day. He's heard summoning them to be "strong and peaceful", "courageous and peace-loving". See more »

Quotes

Gabriele: That's the worst part. You try to seem different from what you really are. They force you to feel ashamed of yourself. To hide.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in La tarea (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A SPECIAL DAY (Ettore Scola, 1977) ***
21 December 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had intended to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Marcello Mastroianni's passing with numerous unwatched films of his that I own on VHS; however, given my ongoing light-hearted Christmas marathon, I had to make do with just this one! As it happens, it features one of his best performances - and he was justly Oscar-nominated for it (with the film itself being likewise honored). This was also one of 14 collaborations with that other most widely-recognized star to emerge from Italy, Sophia Loren; both, incidentally, are playing against type here - she as an unglamorous housewife and he a homosexual!

By the way, the film's title has a double meaning: the leading characters are brought together on the historic day in which Hitler came to Italy to meet Mussolini (the event itself being shown in lengthy archive footage), but it more specifically refers to the stars' 'brief encounter' in which they share moments of friendship, revelation and, briefly, passion - though each knows that a return to their normal existence is inevitable, which leads to the film's abrupt bittersweet ending. This is virtually a two-hander (with all other characters - save for the nosy concierge of the apartment block in which the story takes place in its entirety - which include Loren's gruff and fervently patriotic husband, surprisingly played by John Vernon, appear only at the beginning and closing sequences); still, the cramped setting doesn't deter director Scola (for the record, this is the 7th film of his that I've watched and own 3 more on VHS) and cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis, so that the result - though essentially low-key - is far from stagy: the camera is allowed to prowl the various sections of the large building, observing the proceedings intimately or dispassionately as the situation requires, but always keenly.

The narrative, of course, depends entirely on the performances of the two stars for it to be convincing, and they both deliver (their on-screen chemistry is quite incomparable); it's interesting, however, that while Loren walked away with the prizes in their home turf, it's Mastroianni's moving yet unsentimental outsider (the film, somewhat dubiously, does seem to equate his sexual deviance with Anti-Fascism!) who generally impressed international audiences!


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