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Lettera aperta a un giornale della sera (1970)

A rash letter of protest sparks a crisis for a group of affluent, Communist intellectuals in Italy who find themselves suddenly challenged to back up their incendiary rhetoric with action.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniele Costantini ...
Nino Dal Fabbro ...
prof. Nino Dal Fabbro
Laura De Marchi ...
Wife of Dublino
Daniele Dublino ...
Fabienne Fabre ...
Piero Faggioni ...
Graziella Galvani ...
Lorenza Guerrieri ...
Nicole Karen
Tanya Lopert
Titina Maselli ...
Monica Strebel ...
Daniela Surina ...
Countess Surina
Nicole Tessier
Nanni Loy ...


A rash letter of protest sparks a crisis for a group of affluent, Communist intellectuals in Italy who find themselves suddenly challenged to back up their incendiary rhetoric with action.

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Release Date:

13 March 1970 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Open Letter to the Evening News  »

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User Reviews

The Burden of Convictions
9 July 2009 | by (Portugal) – See all my reviews

Francesco Masselli's movie is dominated by an hypothesis. It's not a character movie in which a personality stands out and is burned on the viewer's memory forever. In fact, the movie is so full of characters, neither takes center stage and and it becomes confusing after a while.

It's an idea-driven movie. The filmmaker merely suggests the following: what if a bunch of middle-class intellectual communists sent a letter to an evening newspaper claiming they're ready to join the Vietnamese in their fight against America? They don't expect repercussions, they don't even expect the letter to be published; it's merely showing their position.

But then the letter gets published. And slowly events conspire to force them to own up to their own words. And the filmmaker poses the question: what will they do now? Will they abandon their comfortable lives to go fight and possibly die in Vietnam? Will they go back on their word and look cowardly and uncommitted to their political beliefs? I watched this movie just an hour ago so I'm still thinking about. Is Maselli attacking communism here or just using them as an example to tell a story about the importance of defending one's convictions? his communists are hardly the working-class heroes of tradition: they're mostly well-off intellectuals, have good jobs at Universities and companies. They speak mostly in pseudo-scientific verbiage, going on about Freud and Sartre and Marx and collective psychoses and social-historical contexts, and seem completely disconnected from reality. But this is when they're not having sexual crises.

There's an atmosphere of inertia and conformity in these people that make you think writing pointless letters to newspapers is what they've been doing all their lives, instead of engaging in actual changes. Perhaps this is what Maselli is getting at: for real change people must act. When his communists are confronted with this reality, they're terrified. The ending is a sequence of genius and worth the movie alone, as we see the reality of their endeavor sinking in their brains at last.

As a slice of Italian and European history, this is a good movie. It could have been better if the movie had had less characters with stronger personalities instead of one-dimensional walking ideas. trying to cover as many different types of people in society, he sort of lost track of all the conflicts in the movie. But this can be excused and the movie can still be enjoyed in spite of it.

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