At a farmhouse, a large family cooks mountains of food for the next day's engagement party for Silvia and her city fiancé, Angelo. Her parents feud about infidelity; an aging salesman who ... See full summary »
At a farmhouse, a large family cooks mountains of food for the next day's engagement party for Silvia and her city fiancé, Angelo. Her parents feud about infidelity; an aging salesman who rents a cottage from them arrives with a young French woman; in Bologna, Angelo's mother frets that her son is marrying beneath him; his sisters are less critical. Early the next morning, the four of them go by train to the farmhouse, joined by Angelo's married, unpregnant sister. The day-long dinner is riotous, couples display affection and impatience, children chase angels. Angelo's family stays the night, and his sister Linda has a visitor. A silver elephant makes the perfect gift. Written by
This brilliant Italian ensemble piece is a film that would certainly benefit from repeated viewings. It's difficult at first to keep all the faces straight among the more than thirty characters, each with his or her fully developed identity, who share a 20-course meal to celebrate the engagement of a city boy and a country girl at the bride-to-be's family estate. The title of the film is fairly explicit, describing a graceful, subtle comedy of unspoken affections and hidden resentments, told (with a good deal of silent eye contact) in a series of not always casual encounters. After a day filled with quiet revelations nothing is changed but everyone is different, although it still isn't clear how a couple from such widely divergent backgrounds ever met in the first place.
(Note: the evocative black and white photography, making the film resemble something produced in the same pre-World War II setting as the story, was only seen at early press screenings. When it was finally released the film was diminished by a full range of more natural color.)
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