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Je t'aime moi non plus (1976)
Not much of a story, like in "un homme, une femme"(also with a famous song in the film) , its real strength is the atmosphere it invokes, - the desolute landscape which accentuates the feeling of loneliness, the truculent male star, the hard stares from the judging locals, the weak and fragmented dialogue, the not too bright couple who were madly in love, it's just one of those films that you can't forget, and of course, very french in style, ....the scenes of anal sex were unnecessary, but the film was released in the 1970's so a bit of scandal , only helped to sell more the film to the public.
I think a remake of this film in the US, could be done nowadays. Filmed in the plains of the Midwest, in some god forgotten village, it would be a hit, especially considering the amount of free publicity US films get !
Pane, amore e..... (1955)
Very charming film from the 1950's......
I remembered seeing it on Italian TV as a child and even then I liked it, seeing it again yesterday, I thought it wouldn't resist the test of time, instead, I throughly enjoyed it.... for all the qualities you don't see in films nowadays, (especially in modern Italian films).
Briefly, a tale of a cultivated(Vittorio de Sica), educated, charming middle-aged womanizing, newly installed chief of the traffic police (complete with resplendid uniform including white gloves), whom on arriving at his long lost native Sorrento , finds his family home occupied/squatted by a beautiful fishmonger (sofia Loren, at her most splendid).While starting procedures of evicting her he also starts courting her, with poetic citations, charming one liners and complements, inducing the jealousy of her semi - boyfriend/suitor.Complicating matters further, the haunty, aloof but good looking noble woman owner of the house where Vittorio is temporarily living , falls for Vittorio.But all this happens in a semi comic and humorous vein...after all it's a romantic comedy. The film ends with a typical happy ending...but the whole film is held up by the old world charms of Vittorio de Sica....Sofia loren acted well too.
I sometimes wonder if its possible nowadays to make a remake of this film, ....but sometimes I feel it wouldn't work....no female nudity,no profanitites, no sex, and no vulgarities...while I feel I'm in a minority in appreciating good taste, it seems not so with, modern day film or/and TV producers who always want to 'modernize' their 'art' with the aforementioned charateristics. A real pity,... perhaps a new film style could be a return to class and good taste.
Costa Azzurra (1959)
Good performance by Alberto Sordi, others rather dull !!
It seems that in the 1950's it was customary to divide up an Italian film in various separate stories !! As is the case of this film. Alberto Sordi's little 'story' is certainly entertaining..... as an aspiring actor, whose prospective film gay film director tries to seduce him !! But the other little stories are deciding very dull, perhaps interesting to see the social mores and ways, of 'jet setting' types the 1950's, ....but apart from that, not worth to see ! I definitely pressed to fast forward button of my VideoRecorder until the next scenes of Alberto Sordi !!
Another curiosity, which I noticed also in the 'Vitelloni' film of Federico Fellini.....whenever there's a scene where a homosexual tries to seduce another man, the public is made to understand this situation indirectly, no direct mention of the word 'homosexual' (or other slang words for it) is ever said !! Perhaps the censorship of those times didn't allow it.... they only say (as in this film) that the man in question, behaves 'in a strange way' !!
Quite a funny film actually, ..about holidaying,courtship,and high society
......certainly better than the winter holiday version 'Vacanze d'inverno' of 1959, the 'brevi amori..' film is more similar to 'venezia,la luna, e tu' from 1958. Unlike the latter film, 'brevi amori..' is 100% comedy, where Alberto Sordi 'Anselmo Pandolfini' , plays the role of an ugly, persistent, and (initially) annoying courtier/admirer to a beautiful actress, high society ?, young woman. At first he is laughed of, especially by his ultra handsome rival, but with his firm insistence, and gradually emerging charm, he seduces the lady, to the total shocked surprise of his rival. All this in the settings of a beach holiday in the exclusive(only in the 1950's) resort of Palma de Majorca, Spain. Entertaining throughout, with rare boring moments, ideal if you want to kill two hours, but it will difficult that is film will re-emerge from some dusty cellar of a film production company.Increasingly it is difficult to see Alberto Sordi films from the 1950's and 1960's in Italy, let alone abroad(but still 20 or so of his films are sold on Italian Internet DVD shopping sites). My vote a well deserved 7
Hazards(in comical light) of being a world traveling arms merchant
Pietro, in order to satisfy the cravings for luxury and upper class respectability, of his beautiful wife, changes job from bathroom equipment salesman to arms salesman .....his earnings shoot up, but so does his problems !!!
He increasingly becomes out of touch of his family's obvious enjoyment of their prestigious social status, and selling weapons to petty African dictators(some very funny scenes) is stressful to say the least made worse by the presence of a rival French salesman!
It is a common theme in Alberto Sordi films of men victim to their beautiful wife's whims, to the extent that they sometimes ruin themselves !! Also this obsession of attaining high class 'respectability' is definitely an all Italian phenomena, esp. in the 1950's and 60's.
However Alberto Sordi always manages to make fun, of these national tracts without being overbearing and rhetorical.
The film in the second half , losses direction and becomes a boring,moral and anti-war rhetoric....a pity....with a bit more thought this part of the film could have been made better. But films in those times(1950's & 1960's), in Italy, at least, were quickly written and made on shoe string budgets, hence, the rather silly names to these films.Money had to be made quickly on these films, so little time on the artistic side was dedicated.
I have always felt that a remake could be made of the film,perhaps with Bob Hoskins or Danny de Vito in the role of Pietro. It's one of the few Italian films that could be successfully transposed to a more Anglo-Saxon settings.
It could a real hit !! My vote for the film a generous 7.
Il commissario (1962)
Not the best Alberto Sordi comedy...definitely there are better ones !
Comedy of newly hired police officer with his excessive youthful enthusiasm, pedantic and obsessive ways, causes a lot of exasperation among his more laid back colleagues. Also his courtship of a young lady is done strictly by the police rule book, with military like respect and obsequiousness. A good Alberto Sordi comedy, but certainly not his best.
Not worth to buy DVD or Video, but worth to watch on TV (in the unlikely event it ever gets shown on Italian TV, ..forget about ever seeing it outside Italy). The best Alberto Sordi comedy(or tragi-comedy) DVD films worth to buy, are
'Vita difficile', 'Il Vigile', 'Tutti a casa', 'Il maestro di Vigevano', 'Americano a Roma', to name a few.
Vote for this film, only 6.
Vacanze d'inverno (1959)
Comedy, not in the best of Alberto Sordi tradition !
By the late 1950's Italy seems to have developed the custom of going to 'White week' holidays, that is week long skiing holidays, something very popular nowadays. Alberto Sordi & Co, always ready to make fun of the latest trends in Italian society couldn't let this pass, and film was created dealing with jet setters holidaying among the the 'lower' class(that is our working class hero, Alberto Sordi), in the prestigious resort(still is) of Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Alberto Sordi's disastrous attempts to socialize with the high society provides good entertainment, but the film becomes decidingly dull, in the scenes he is absent.
The film does provide (unintentionally), a view of 1950's attitudes, like a,surprising love for drinking Whisky ! At the time Italians were hopelessly in love with anything American, so you wouldn't be caught dead ordering a glass of cool white wine in those times it was definitely , Whisky con Soda !! Thankfully in Italy nowadays, everyone is back to ordering a cool glass of white wine,beer or plain espresso at the bar!
Also the females talked about their own marriage infidelity, in the same tone as we talk about change of weather ! But this later fact, does show more of a stereotyped working class view of the upper class that the Upper class are so........ sophisticated that you(of the lesser caste), cannot speak to them for five minutes without making a total fool of yourself, with their thin ironic smile and measured polite manners they show a patronizing attitude towards you,... but of course you of the 'lesser' sort had better show the maximum respect to them, since they are after all extremely clever, and have an encyclopediatic cultural knowledge ..and of course, the Upper class know everything while we the lower class, are shameless in our ignorance.
The Upper class drink gallons of Whisky(+soda) and of course, Martini cocktails, (whatever it is ? ., but it must be sophisticated since they drink it, with an olive inside and from small champagne glasses!) . The Upper class being very intelligent, play a very intelligent game called bridge(another 1950's and 60's obsession), change lovers like pajamas, (while we working class slug it out with work and traditional family values), and in general have a jolly good time Dash it, Geeves pass me my champagne!!
If you can survive watching married noblewomen sunning themselves on the chalet terrace gentily teasing each other about past and present lovers, (what ever happened to their hubbies
. , ooh yes
of course they are with their own lovers
.how silly and bourgeois of me !!)
.and resist fast forwarding the video to the next Alberto Sordi scene, you will see a more anthropological study of how Italians would really like to live,(at least the men) but of course don't,
..it's not reality show, just very bad comedy ! My vote for the film
The Birdcage (1996)
Originally it was a French theatre comedy show in the 1970's
......then.......it became an Italo-French movie "Le Cage aux Follie" in 1978 with Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault , written by French and Italian script writers (Edouardo Molinaro and Marcello Danon), .......but to see in 1997 a book in a English Bookstore of the American version of the film written by two Americans , made me wonder if
copyright laws had been respected ??? It was originally written by a French playwriter way back in the late 1960's..............no mention of him at all,........ even though the American version(Birdcage) and the Italo-French version are identical even in the dialogue ! It's all right to make remakes of European films(which are always bad copies), but at least the rights of the original authors should be respected !
Comment on this version : a good film, but with a script like that, it couldn't go wrong !!!
Cheers (from a European spoilsporter),
Polvere di stelle (1973)
Nostalgic film of Italian comedy theatre in the 1940's !!
Known as "Avanspettacolo" ...these were theatre groups touring Italy, in the 1930's and 40's , which provided slapstick comedy,singers and always,always....semi clad young women dancers !!(See my comment on "Gastone" with Alberto Sordi about "avanspettacolo" shows ).
It was formula which was very successfull , it was cheap, and usually a film was projected afterwards !! It was the only entertainment for the Italian masses before the advent of television,( which degraded enertainment to new levels of baseness and stupidity !!See the film of Fedrico Fellini "Ginger and Roger" were TV shows were portrayed in all their shallowness).
In this film, instead of showing the theatre group working in Rome, it shows their life when on the move, where they meet all sorts of crazy provincial types, excited about the arrival of this travelling theatre circus, but because of their provincial simplicity, create hiliarious situations and misunderstandings for the more "sophisticated" artists !!
It is a funny film at times, but it's more interesting in it's
portrayal of life "in the old times that never come back",the poverty,the honesty,the humbleness and simplicity of Italians of another epoch !! A 7 vote.
Auguri professore (1997)
Interesting film about a high school teacher fighting his inner demons !
When I saw on Italian T.V. last year, I was impressed with the quality of the drama,dialogue and its generally realistic tone about present day (and past) Italian society, in the film ! Prof.Lipari(played by Silvio Orlando), is a charismatic,disillusioned but yet popular teacher with the pupils in a run down state school,but yet, always in conflict with his colleagues,especially with the headmaster !
His life is further complicated when a new(beautiful) female teacher , arrives who proves to be even better than him in creating a rapport with the students ! The new teacher was one of his ex pupils.And she candidly admits that when she was a student she was deeply in love with him ! This surprising revelation revives memories in Prof.Lipari when he went out with some of his students, especially her and a male student(Gangia?).At this time Prof. lipari had created an ideal relationship with his students, which he can't create now. The student Gangia?(not sure if its his name) is troubled with his life, and cannot reach out to his friend,Lipari, he subsequently kills himself after leading a life of drugs and drink ! His death haunts Prof.Lipari till this day, making it even more difficult for him to create relationships with anyone.
It sounds like a pretty dreary film, but there is a strong overtone of irony,sarcasm and comedy in the whole film, making this film, far more enjoyable to watch, without being too meleodramatic !
The script of this film, could be taken up by an American film company, with perhaps Robin Williams as the teacher ! It would have a good chance of success !(The film has a rather indecisive and sad ending,which the Americans would just hate, but thats the way we Europeans like our cinema, realistic and gray, not black and white with happy endings !) But first the producers must see this film well, and even read the book from where the script originated from ! Definitely I think this film is far better than 'Dead Poets Society' a film I didn't even see to the end, I was so bored by it !
For its melanchonical style,and good story line it deserves the 8 vote I gave it.