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I dolci inganni (1960)
Refined and Ingenious
Francesca, a seventeen-year-old Roman, is finally sure she has found love. Almost sure. She spends the day observing other lovers' behaviors and considering whether she is ready to jump. Her age notwithstanding, this movie is more about coming of age than about improper or illegal romantic relationships.
If Catherine Spaak, beautiful and innocent, acts with brio, the quality of the supporting cast makes the movie. From a fifty-year-old indebted socialite who is having too much fun for her daughter's taste to a jaunty gigolo who turns out to be eaten by unreciprocated love, the minor characters entertain, delight, and subtly teach valuable lessons to both Francesca and the audience.
This film's unpredictability is refreshing. Whether written or filmed, coming-of-age stories often fail to surprise or intrigue the audience. In I Dolci Inganni, most characters seem at first to be crazily entertaining walking clichés, but they later astonish the audience by revealing their depth and their inner struggles. If love is widely accepted as a common human need, it can be expressed in mysterious, unsettling, incomprehensible ways. The variety of its forms in the movie gives the spectator an opportunity to reflect on his or her own endeavors and dreams.
This movie will seem slow paced to Gen-Xers, but anybody interested in human nature should see it.