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Italian high school, or its equivalent. Third of five years. Boys and girls go to classes, don't pay attention to the teachers, who are universally boring with an occasional exception. The administration looks unkindly upon a student publication. Romances are started. Romances are ended. There are petty jealousies. One girl, Giovanna, gets pregnant by Franco. There are ski trips, basketball games (including one with girls in shorts that piqued the ire of 1953 Italian censors, along with the adolescent kissing!). Mothers and fathers are often not an understanding lot, and at times they are very understanding. Teachers are harsh and prone to humiliating sarcasm occasionally they are humane.
This film, directed by Luciano Emmer, who has contributed a good number of better films to the Italian cinema, treats so many characters here so schematically that it is really difficult to relate emotionally to many of them. The movie reminded me of Leonide Moguy's TOMORROW IS TOO LATE, which dealt with some of the same issues of youthful sexual awakening and romance, but in a way that was more incisive and certainly more memorable. There is a particularly good scene of phone-rage in which one set of parents argues loudly with another set. The parents of Bruno and Camilla each blame the other for their kids' problems and hang-ups that distract them from their studies.
The school year comes to an end. One girl fails her Greek exam and is caught after an attempt at cheating. The pregnant girl has gotten married. School goes on. Life goes on.
And that about sums up TERZA LICEO.
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