I girasoli (1970) Poster

(1970)

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touched my heart
soshoux12 August 2001
You know the plot.

Sunflower was Vittorio De Sica's last film. It was dismissed by the critics as hopelessly maudlin melodrama. But anyone who cares enough to be reading this no doubt knows the humanity he crafted into every frame, and the beauty and sadness of life it evokes.

Henry Mancini's theme song is, IMVHO, the very best he ever wrote. I'm reduced to tears every time I hear it. Yet it seems Mancini himself treated as a lesser child. His daughter recorded it to lyrics better left forgotten.
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A Truly Great Scene...
richbh22 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There are few scenes more moving or more powerful than the scene where Sophia meets her husband in Russia.

The scene is at a train station: he's on the arriving train and she's waiting on the platform. A huge number of people get off the train and she's looking at everyone through the chaos of moving bodies. She doesn't really expect to find him, but hope is still alive.

She sees him through the throng, he sees her.

The wordless communication between them as she gets on the train to leave and he stays on the platform watching her go is nothing less than thrilling. It's a great cinematic moment - a great moment of acting for Loren.

It is, perhaps, the single scene for which I shall always remember her.
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9/10
genuine De Sica
Bocio4 June 2000
Tremendous drama. Loren is magnificent as a woman who fights to re made his life after she descovered his missing husband/ italian soldier Mastroianni is living a new life in Kruschev's Russia. The final escene at the railway station is superb. Dont miss their face expressions. Mancini composition still sounds in my ears.
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8/10
Love, Hope, Truth and Renounce
Claudio Carvalho14 August 2009
In Naples, in World War II, the local Giovanna (Sophia Loren) has a torrid love affair with the soldier Antonio (Marcello Mastroianni), who is ready to embark to Africa. Giovanna proposes him to get married with her to get a leave of twelve days; then Antonio pretends that he is insane and he is sent to an asylum. However, the doctors discover the farce and they give the option to Antonio to go to the Russian front as volunteer instead of being sued. When Antonio is missing in action in Russia, Giovanna does not accept that he is dead. Years after the end of the war, Giovanna travels to Russia with a picture of Antonio to seek him out in the countryside. When she finds a lead in a village, her hope becomes disappointment with truth about his disappearance.

"I Girasoli" is one of the most famous romances of cinema and discloses a beautiful story of love, hope, truth and renounce. Vittorio De Sica explores the chemistry between Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni to the best, supported by a magnificent cinematography and the wonderful soundtrack of Henry Mancini, which certainly is among the most beautiful ones of the cinema history. The screenplay uses much ellipsis, and my remarks are the lack of dates, leaving the viewer without any reference of how many years have passed; further, the dialogs in Russian that are not translated. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Os Girassóis da Rússia" ("The Russia's Sunflowers")
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7/10
Two Characters to share the same sense of loss.
David Traversa2 July 2011
I suppose this film is just a maudlin melodrama, so is the music by Mancini. But then..., what a marvelous maudlin melodrama!... Why shouldn't it be? what's wrong with maudlin melodramas? If they are well done and authentic with their characters, if we get wrapped up with their emotions..., well, can you ask for anything more?

I just saw this movie on "You Tube" for the second time. I remember seen it on late TV in Italy, many years ago, and the impression was so powerful that after somebody mentioned it a few days ago --I didn't remember any more this title until they mentioned it-- I decided to look for it and watch it again, to see after so many years if the impression was still the same (so many films are a total disappointment when seen for a second time years later), but it wasn't the case with this one.

The story is so poignant that it can hold on its own very well no matter the change in mores and film technical improvements, it definitely grabs your interest till the very end (I must admit the film is far from perfect, since, for example, there are no indications of how many years went by or the new life style Sophia's character turns to after her Russian trip.

It also has two climaxes, both marvelous, but I think they should have decided for one or the other, two climaxes is too much within the same movie, and the length should have been shortened quite a bit.

Anyhow, forget about the lachrymose side of the story and submerge yourself in it (also get some Kleenex handy because everybody will need them, and plenty) and if you have to have a good cry, well, have it and enjoy it!! (After all is just a movie).
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10/10
Una donna alla ricerca dell' amore perduto.
woortmann19 September 2006
"I Girasoli" is certainly one of the best romantic stories in an honest and pure setting in Italy and Russia. It is a dramatic love story of Antonio and Giovana wanting to stay together in the war. The impossibility to hold on to the newly found and sweetest happiness becomes inevitable in the destructive war, where Anoinio is found half frozen by a Russian woman. The accent lies in finding love in warm sunny Italy and loosing this in the freezing cold war thousands of miles away. Although in this new other world there is love too, it is never the same as before. At the end the search for the lost love is completed and in vain when life has changed there lives irreversibly. Un impossibile ritorno al passato.
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powerful drama
camel-916 August 1999
Another Matroianni-Loren combination, if you liked "A Special Day", you'll like this one too. Unusual in many ways, it is a co-production Italy-USSR, and it was shot on location in both countries. Notable also the comparison between scenes of 1945 and 1960. An Italian soldier does not return from WWII and his wife eventually goes to Russia to find him many years after the war ended, only to dramatically find him in a living situation in a russian family. He too will travel to Italy, but to find her in a living situation, and he too will return alone. The title of the movie ("The Sunflowers") point to the main crop the fields of Russia that italian soldiers tried to retreat from in months of walking and walking. It's amazing that this reel is not available on video, maybe because it is slightly politicized in social portrayal (in the trip to Italy, the ex-soldier finds prostitutes, a clear sign of degradation of society of the West in the view of soviet propaganda).
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10/10
One of Vittorio De Scica's best films and having antiwar undercurrent.
syui11 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The director Vittorio De Scica directed one of the best films depicting the tragedies and sorrows of those involved in wars against their will. Both Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni were superb in performing their respective roles as commoners living a peaceful life and who had their destiny changed all of a sudden into misery and agony. This film may be rated one of the best antiwar movies in the 20th century. I have seen this picture on my own DVD many times and each time I am deeply touched by the story. The most impressive scenes of the film are Sophia Loren's reunion with her husband who was now living a seemingly happy life with a Russian woman who had saved his life --- the reunion which was just the beginning of her tragedy. The outstanding script and the direction of De Scica as well as the superb acting of both Sophia and Marcello render "I Girasoli" a masterpiece in Italian realism in cinematography.
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10/10
Highly Recommended Viewing!!
Aulait8827 July 1999
Sunflower (1970) 103 mins

Two newly-weds were split up when the husband was forced to fight on the Russian Front. Hearing nothing from him, his wife sets out on a desperate journey across Russia to find out if he has survived.

Includes an excellent score by Henry Mancini, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Mancini at his best!!

Shot on location in Italy and Russia which provides a dramatic background.

Sophia was never more beautiful, Marcello was never more debonair. The on-screen chemistry is classic cinema! Modern films pale in comparison to their simple and genuine portrayals captured under the direction of Vittorio De Sica.

A superb mixture of ingredients by De Sica, right down to the inclusion of Mancini as composer!

I wish I could persuade the copyright holder to re-release this title to video.

At one time I owned a copy of this on VHS, but it was destroyed. Any help locating it again (in any format) is appreciated! Looking for the soundtrack too!
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8/10
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Italian Style
maestro7PL11 December 2013
I just finished watching the stunning Blu Ray of the original Italian English-subtitled version of this film--the best version available. I do not understand all the naysayers reviewing this film. If you are a fan of Loren and Mastroianni, if you are a fan of DeSica, if you enjoy a good old-fashioned melodrama that will tear at your heart, you MUST see this film! To dismiss this film as Soviet propaganda, or as unrealistic, is like criticizing "The Little Mermaid" for having a singing mermaid and talking fish. It utterly misses the point. This movie contains one of the very best, if not THE best Sophia Loren performance on film. Henri Mancini's score is unforgettable. This film makes you care about the plight of both characters. It is available as part of the new "Sophia Loren Collection" box set, and for me, this, along with "Marriage Italian Style," is the "jewel" of the set. See it!
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a delicate poem
Armand15 August 2012
meeting between two great actors and an impressive director. images from Italy and picture of Russia in the air of Cold War.a basic story about a couple, a war and a choice. a travel and the form of truth. beautiful music and force of unspoken words. that is all. or only gentle performance of Ludmila Savelieva. a great film. not for cast or dramatic slices, for the force of emotions or for the sunflower as vegetable testimonies about a tragedy. but only for its virtue to be a seed. a seed of questions and answers. an exercise of empathy. a sad love story in which love is more than feeling. a poem but just a very special poem. mixture of pure joy, shadows of war, a miracle and a search, it is homage to a sacrifice generation and reflection of deep need of sense in a chaotic world. nothing pink, nothing cold. only picture of a man, a young Russian woman who speaks Italian, a charming Sophia Loren and same Mastroianni. but the essence is possession of public.
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7/10
Beautifully hypocrite
Mihnea the Pitbull22 August 2008
A credible melodrama, but a totally ridiculous story. However, we should understand it - the movie's pro-soviet propagandistic stance is explicit. Fact is that it's literally IMPOSSIBLE for any missing-in-action Italian (or German, if we come at that) soldier, to have been cutely integrated in the Russian society. The N.K.V.D. was everywhere, and any such foreigner would have been found in a matter of weeks (months, at most), and treated like a spy. The Georgian Butcher was reserving the same fate even to the Russian soldiers who fell prisoners to the enemy: his paranoia dictating that the only explanation for having survived was defection, they were considered by default traitors and sent to the Gulag. So, our poor Mastroianni here, far of happily living ever after with Savelieva, would have been deported to Vorkuta or Ekibastuz, as a spy, for 10 years (or, rather, 25 - these being the standard imprisoning terms). After being released (in case he survived the abuses of the extermination camps), he would have been forced to live in exile (forced domicile), still in some village of Siberia or the Central Asia deserts. No way in hell for him even to travel in some other Russian township, close by - while the idea of coming back to Italy for a visit is as ludicrous as sending him to Mars.

But, well, Guerra wrote the script before Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" was published, so he can be excused for being so ignorant about the Russian realities.
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8/10
"I girasoli" has singular moments of visual poetry, interpretation, sound and indisputably of De Sica's ability to record and transmute the simplicities of life.
guedesnino20 June 2017
Although not the most interesting story (in the script and direction), told by maestro Vittorio De Sica, "I girasoli" has singular moments of visual poetry, interpretation, sound and indisputably of De Sica's ability to record and transmute the simplicities of life.

I remember the first films that I watched this, that is, a great inspiration and to those who always devote an absolute favoritism. Vittorio De Sica through the possibilities of presenting and not representing life, as the Italian neo-realist movement wished, giving rise to films that were very close to a documentary record and fascinated by their seam in reverse, without modesty to show the volatile frenzy of a Country and its people, in the face of the new relations that emerge, and in the uncertainty of their durability.

Certainly a cultural movement can not be tied to a creator, on the contrary, it must be a device for new constructions, and this is notorious in "I girasoli". Produced in 1970, with a script by Cesare Zavattini and an argument elaborated by Tonino Guerra, famous poet, writer and chronicler of the war. Being an Italo-Franco-Soviet co-production, this allowed for a rare record of the former Communist bloc, in part because of De Sica's good relations with the Italian Communist Party.

In the form of an ultra simplistic summary, I would like to say, "I girasoli" is the portrait of a brief happiness in the face of the non-amorous concreteness ruled by the adversities of war and reasons not always surrounded by logical meaning or possible to name. The film succeeds as a moving family drama, and microcosm of the social history of Italy during the 1940s (war period) until the early 1970s.

The weight of the commercial influence causes losses notorious for the film, in which its plot is constructed through moorings that seek to structure and punctuate the trajectory of the personages to the molds of the melodramatic structure of the films Hollywood of that time, disfiguring the original character of drama that the film proposes And the crisis relations of the drama, always prosperous element in the hands of the director De Sica. This disfigurement may be noted, for example, in the long and unnecessary record of Masha (Lyudmila Savelyeva) revealing to Giovanna (Sophia Loren) how she found and how she rescued Antonio (Marcello Mastroianni) from the cold and the war. A resource, I think, to further punctuate the melodrama of the story and to even more balance the audience in their love and final end crowd with whom Antonio should stay? The beloved woman or the woman who saved you?

There are several moments in the film that result in the same sense, to prolong the melodrama, to balance the decisions of the public and to exhibit explanations, something that makes the film exhausting, explanatory in excess and shallow before the dimension of human questions and the possibilities of social, Political and war-related issues that end up being used only as a background, and which, when evoked, are treated superficially.

A highlight and deserves special attention is the relationship established by the protagonists Giovanna (Sophia Loren) and Antonio (Marcello Mastroianni). De Sica had done some work, with Sophia and Antonio as a couple of protagonists, (example: Ieri, oggi, domani -1963). This previous experience, collaborates both for those who have already attended or for those who witness for the first time the partnership between such actors and the director. This total chemistry, ease and intimacy for the game, collaborate exactly, where it does not take more than three minutes, for the public to twist and "ship" the couple Giovanna and Antonio. Something very important and necessary for this story, since the happiness between these two is brief. Just as in a football match, the audience vibrates with the determined, passionate posture of Giovanna - an Italian woman - who goes to Russia to look for Antonio, the husband given as lost during World War II. The crossing is made by urban landscapes and fields of sunflowers, a beautiful, flowery and poetic passage that collaborate in the perspective of a happy ending.

The work of Sophia Loren is hard in the attempt to disengage from the muse and sexual appeal common to the history of her characters, and in many moments succeed, but to facilitate the outcome of its history, we have precisely the use of the muse and the sexual appeal, But clearly as a resource imposed by the script and accepted by the management. Already Marcello Mastroianni impresses by charisma and magnetism, a simple portrait of the actor or character are enough. We honestly know that it is not at all a difficult job for both actors, since the characters do not require during the feat, during what is filmed or captured, a scattering of states, feelings and conflicts. The melodramatic load is already in charge of this, but at no time do we see a minor work, a corner job, or a lack of prestige.

Highlights for the track of Henry Mancini, famous for creating musical identity in the films in which he works. Giuseppe Rotunno's Photography, especially in all the scenes of crowd, that added to the direction of Vitoria print a true picture of an Italy. Among so many moments of brilliance of direction and photography, I highlight the first scene of war in Russia. The strong and fruitful image of a large red flag swaying in the air and oscillating between projections, background and transparencies of a war in the snow that is stained by the blood of people as lost as the fate of two homelands that oscillate between the mother And the hangman, an opposition who, at the same time, embraces and sentences the life of the citizen (common man), and the soldier of war.
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The DVD is a Disgrace to De Sica and his Cinematographer
gregorybnyc25 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
So many reviews talk of the beauty of this film, but you can't see it on the horribly transferred DVD I saw from Netflix last weekend. So much of the color has been drained from the source, and you'd thought the movie was shot in experimental color in 1939 instead of 1970. Shame on the quick-buck types who have violated De Sica's original film. It's simply awful to watch.

I had never seen this emotional film about an Italian couple who marry on the eve of his being sent to the Russian front. He never returns, and she never gives up hope of his return. The Loren/Mastroianni pairing has always been potent on the screen. And it is so here with Loren utterly magnificent as the loving wife and the grief-struck and abandoned woman later on. When the wife travels to Russia to find him years after the war, she's much older, and her life has been ruined. So the scene where she finally is connected to him through his Russian wife, and then sees him arriving at the local train station, is truly heartbreaking. While he has committed himself to his new life in Russia, marrying another woman and father two children, Loren's face shows her disappointment and overwhelming sense of sadness as she finally see that all that this woman has is now denied to her. Mastroianni has a bothersome role here. It is Loren who initially proposes they marry at the beginning of the film. He's just another callow fellow having a fling before he goes off to war. Later when he's nearly dead from walking through the frozen Russian winter, in retreat and trying to get back to Italy, his character finally gives up and falls down in the snow to die. He is saved by a beautiful Russian girl who drags him back to civilization. I guess, grateful for her ministrations, he eventually marries her and settles into a new life in Russia. So the character is rather passive to begin with, robbing Mastroianni of his usual comic bombast.

In the end, you wonder why waste these two screen giants on this weeper of a movie. I have always adored Loren. Besides her jaw-dropping beauty, she always projected such warmth, generosity of spirit, a sense of fun, and when called for, she could be as great playing tragedy as any screen actress of any generation. TWO WOMEN proved that, and films such as A SPECIAL DAY and Marriage Italian STYLE only underlined the marvelous acting skills she possessed. So it's disappointing to see her giving her usual great self to a property that isn't quite worthy of her.

It's worth seeing for two stars who can elevate any material they've been given, but wait for a better DVD remastering. This one will not do at all.
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7/10
cold war pro soviet fantasy
filmalamosa30 January 2012
As another reviewer pointed out this bit of cold war propaganda (pro Soviet) was absurdly impossible. An axis soldier would have been shot period or arrested as a spy and killed slowly in a prison camp.

So you have to dismiss the story as absurd as it stands and place it in Iran or Finland or some place where it could have happened. Or just suspend your disbelief.

Once you do that you can enjoy this bit of really well done maudlin romance. Loren had to be at the height of her classy beauty in this film (before she was aged for the story).

I loved the part where she spots an Italian man---the only handsome well dressed stylish man in any of the Russian scenes. Of course Loren herself is like a super nova star compared to the kerchiefed thick legged Russian women. Italian audiences must have loved this film.

I give it a 7 as it is very enjoyable once you deal with the absurd story and the maudlin nature of the movie. As another reviewer states what is so wrong with first class maudlin??
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a memorable sophia and marcello one-of-a-kind classic film!
tripledeepmom12 May 2001
I went to a san francisco theatre to see this film along with my mother when I was a teenager in the 60's. It was in english and I loved it so much I saw it twice. I never forgot it, and although it was never shown again, I was told by someone a few years ago, that it was featured on one of the cable channels, and unfortunately I must have missed it. I don't think its ever been shown since. In my humble opinion, this classic movie depicting love, war, passion, separation, hope, and tears should be rated right up there along with Dr. Zhivago, Casablanca, In Love and War, and many other great films of all time. It's a pity that this movie "Sunflower" is nowhere to be found on video or better yet DVD in the english version in the U.S. I did purchase it on video in Italian, and even though I am fluent in Italian and can understand it, others in my household cannot. Can somebody PLEASE see that it gets some recognition, and becomes a familiar movie and available here in the U.S.A.?
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8/10
Love and loss during the war!!
I Girasoli l'd watched for first time in 1985 on TV not entirely,today l re-watched this magnificent De Sica's movie, it's about love, loss and hope this feeling is showing along the movie,when Antonio and Giavanna get marry ans spent 10 day sharing love, but the war is about to came and he was sent to Russia,Giovanna hope that Antonio returns but even when the war is over he didn't appears....so she decides seeking for every place that he stood in the war....when finally she finds him is already married and have a daughter....this dramatic heartbreak romance is very hard to understand looking of woman's point of view, but not impossible to see how it really happen when Mascia explain how she finds and saves him....in war everybody has a sad story to tell in my opinion is that the matter....the war!!!

Resume:

First watch: 1985 / How many: 2 / Source: TV-DVD /Rating: 8.25
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6/10
Those Italians
gavin694224 March 2016
An Italian woman (Sophia Loren) conducts a desperate search for her husband (Marcello Mastroianni), a soldier considered missing in action in Russia -- like fifty thousand others during WWII.

Sophia Loren had to be one of the first international stars, not counting the Europeans who fled to America before and during World War II. She was a Hollywood sensation, and also with director Vittorio De Sica, co-star Marcello Mastroianni and producer-husband Carlo Ponti (who was old enough to be her father, not to mention married to another woman).

This was apparently the first (or one of the first) films of the western world to be shot in Russia, at least since it became the USSR. That makes it rather interesting, and I wonder what the Italian-Russian relationship was in the 1960s and 1970s. I view the so-called Cold War through American eyes, and I am not sure how Europe felt about it.
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5/10
Every war gives birth to a million stories.
mark.waltz22 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Sophia Loren is a Naples beauty who marries Marcello Mastroianni on the spur of the moment just before he goes off to World War II and spends years after it ends trying to find him. She ends up in Russia where what she discovers breaks her heart, leads her into a new life, but it is not over yet.

This personal story of war could have happened to thousands of women (at least) and is told tenderly with a beautiful musical score by Henry Mancini and with sincere performances. A few of the details are rather far-fetched or unresolved, such as when Marcello Mastroianni comes back to visit his aging mother and never does. Also, how Loren initially finds Loren is really a bit beyond belief. What makes the film special is that it reminds us that no matter what side of the war one might be on, there are always heartbreaks, even if it comes to someone inside the enemy camp.
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love and hope and the truth
Kirpianuscus20 March 2016
the film of chemistry between two great actors. used in brilliant manner by De Sica in a film about love, hope and truth. but the chemistry is more large. the splendid images, the inspired music, the force of humor, the war in different perspective, the absence of precise details who transforms the story in an universal one. and the message who remains touching at each new view. not the last - the status of bridge between West and East in middle of Cold War. sure, propaganda. sure, it is not an isolated case. but the fresh Russian air is one of the basic ingredients who transforms the film in a kind of evergreen. because it is one of that small pieces who sustains a large building. Loren, Mastroianni and De Sica. and large images with sunflowers. that is it.
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10/10
Beautiful
Dan Duran20 February 2013
The movie, of course, deserves all superlatives it has received. I only want to add something to the dispute on whether it is realistic. Some talk about extermination(?) camps that POW's were sent to and that most were shot on the spot(wha?). This is ridiculous, only 10% died due to the harsh conditions in the LABOUR camps (remember it was wartime and nobody was living really comfortably?). Yes, it's still a large number, but most of them returned home. Now, about integrating in the soviet society, I don't know how realistic was that, but presumably a POW who had a child with a local and adopted the communist ideology (yes, it's possible that some folks may sympathize with the plight of the oppressed) might be set free without suspicion that he would be a spy.
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Strictly for Loren/Mastroianni completists and diehard De Sica fans, this turgid story of lost love is a schmaltzy Socialist soap.
TheVid8 May 2003
De Sica's grand neo-realist touch is hardly evident in this meandering tearjerker, whose performances far surpass the material. This USSR/Italian co-production is lovely to look at, though, and Mancini hit all the right notes while composing the love theme (which, by the way, was a concert standard of his).
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7/10
Great soundtrack. Very slow movie,
allyatherton5 February 2016
An Italian woman is convinced her husband survived World War 2

Starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.

Written by Tonino Guerra, Cesare Zavattini and Giorgi Mdivani.

Directed by Vittorio De Sica.

This is my first foreign subtitled film of the year and it's pretty average.

There are no stand out performances and the story just about kept my interest but didn't have me on the edge of my seat. Sophia Loren is one of those actresses that was spoken about a lot in the seventies and eighties but as far as know this is the first time I have seen her in anything.

We don't really get the chance to know any of the two main characters and the whole thing is very slow and never really gets going. On a more positive note the soundtrack by Henry Mancini ( another famous name from the seventies and eighties) is superb and the cinematography, considering this was made in 1970 was really good. I loved the location filming.

Overall a bit too slow for me.

7/10 mainly for the soundtrack.
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8/10
Russian Lullaby
writers_reign11 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As someone has pointed out the quality of the print on DVD is dire, truly washed out something like third or fourth generation, but even that can't dim the lustre of this truly fine movie which, unacountably, was blasted by the critics on its release. Okay, it is fair-to-maudlin but so what, it has a great central performance by Sophia Loren that puts her up there with Garbo, Davis, Crawford, both Hepburns and that is THE pantheon if anybody asks you. One can only imagine how ravishing some of the scenes would look in anything even approaching the true colour in which they were shot and Hank Mancini lays a great theme on us which resounds even more for lack of a lyric. If it really was De Sica's swan song it's a real trumpeter swan.
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