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Very pale sequel
Sometimes Claude Lelouch makes good films or masterpieces, sometimes not at all.
This sequel of "Un homme et une femme" is useless. It's not a bad movie in itself, because it's well acted, well made and very refined -high quality is a trademark in Lelouch movies. That's why I give 4 stars out of 10...
But it's a useless project. Was it necessary to go back to the story and spoil the original picture? The 1966 film is very simple -it's a masterpiece because of that. There are only Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée, the chemistry is incredible. The film is really poetic, we don't want to know how their love story goes on.
In the 1986 sequel we find them 20 years later -Lelouch tells us what they have become and how they meet again. There are other characters and facts which intersect with them.
As I said not a really bad movie, but it doesn't stand comparison at all with the original. It would have been better not to produce it.
La vie, l'amour, la mort (1969)
A harrowing document
Claude Lelouch is best known for sentimental movies. Not all are masterpieces, but many are really brilliant -with an excellent camera work (made by Lelouch himself) and long scenes in which facial expressions and movements of the actors replace dialogs, in order to let us imagine their feelings.
This film, made after "Un homme et une femme" (Lelouch's cinematic breakthrough in 1966) and "Vivre pour vivre" (1967) is completely different from the previous two and from the following ones as well. Here the French director quits the sentimental themes for telling a very dramatic story, about a married man who kills three prostitutes and is sentenced to death.
The film is a strong condemnation of death penalty in France -in 1968, when the movie was made, capital punishment was still valid there, it was abolished many years later.
The film shares the same opinion with the US movie "Dead Man Walking" by Tim Robbins (1995): death penalty is useless, no matter which mistake the condemned man has done.
Lelouch films with a lot realism, as if it was a documentary. The story is told in a quite crude way -all the prison scenes are also shot in black and white, whereas the antecedents are in colour.
Death penalty is shown here as a barbarian ritual, a ceremony of the absurd.
I think it still remains a very courageous movie.
Johnny Stecchino (1991)
Oh Santa Cleopatra... funny!
"Johnny Stecchino" (1991) is one of the funniest Benigni movies. Here the actor plays a double role.
A naive and unaware school bus driver, who looks like a Mafioso, is invited to Sicily for a holiday. The plan is exploiting the physical likeness of the two for killing him, so the Mafioso could take advantage of the others believing him dead...
The movie is a slapstick comedy, with a succession of misunderstandings and comical situations. The unaware man never understands he's dealing with Mafia, and reaches to put the organization through a crisis as well! The feature is a refined satire, the film is not vulgar at all. Roberto Benigni is so funny... His presence, the expressions of the face and of the eyes make him a new Charlie Chaplin.
I suggest to see that movie in the original language version -possibly with subtitles for who doesn't understand Italian. With the original voices the film is definitely funnier.
Bande à part (1964)
A great Godard movie
"Bande à part" is one of the main movies of "Novelle Vague", the French cinematic movement between the end of the Fifties and the Sixties.
This films belongs to the best Jean-Luc Godard period, when his movies still had a strong story and were not politicized yet.
Arthur, Franz and Oldile form a band different from the other ones... The title means that, because these people don't follow the stereotype of the gangster -actually they're ordinary people who decide to commit a theft.
The film is very improvisational and made almost like a documentary; Godard doesn't follow some technical cinematic rules like (for example) clean editing, elegant shots, and frames without too much light reflections or contrasts. It's a small film made by a small crew, in real locations.
The sound is also very "dirt": the movie is not dubbed and it's difficult to understand dialogs -although I speak French fluently, I had to watch the film on DVD with the help of subtitles!
"Bande à part" mixes many genres. We have a voice off which accompanies us during the tale; the action is shown in a way similar to the documentary, as I said. At a certain moment the story becomes very tragic, but everything finishes with a happy ending, like a Hollywood movie! All the elements are overthrown.
Many Godard intuitions were used later by different directors like Lars Von Trier and Quentin Tarantino. For us it's interesting, because we see that many things we thought as new were made already 40 years ago.
The Jacket (2005)
A veteran from Gulf War I is wrongfully charged with murder. He's sent to a mental hospital, where he's treated with electrical shock therapy.
He can foresee his future. He falls in love with a girl, whose mother has been killed -the veteran is accused of being her killer, but he's innocent!
He can also travel along his past -and modify a series of things, not only to prove his innocence, but to prevent the crime he's charged with as well!
I summarized the story and tried to simplify it as much as I could, but I assure that it's much more complicated. One hour after having seen the film at the movie theater, I couldn't remember the scenes and the plot any more.
A uselessly obscure film, bad made; that's another product of paranormal (and paranoiac) thriller genre. Awful.
The Interpreter (2005)
Not a bad Pollack effort, with strong actors
Unfortunately Sydney Pollack movies become more and more rare -because the director is more involved in producing films for others and in acting.
"The Interpreter" is not a bad film at all. I say this because the film is not fantastic -some points are not very credible. 30 years after the thriller masterpiece "The three days of the Condor", Pollack tells a story about a UN interpreter (Nicole Kidman) who intercepts a secret conversation about a future killing -apparently there's a plan to kill the president of the African state she's citizen of. A federal detective (Sean Penn), who's been widowed for some weeks, is given the task to investigate and to protect her.
The two actors are really great, and the film works without being boring. It's also interesting the fact that this is the first feature ever to be shot in the United Nations Headquarters -Hitchcock didn't get the permission to do that for "North by Northwest".
To me a well-known liberal director like Sydney Pollack could have been more biting with this film. The terrorist threat of our days is a hardly hinted theme, first.
Is it also credible the scene in which Kidman holds her African president as a hostage? As today there are millions of security rules and guards everywhere (especially during top political meetings), I don't think a UN employee could take easily a very protected man hostage. Policemen and secret agents look for potential assassins inside and outside the UN headquarter in New York, while Kidman is in a room of the same building alone with her prisoner...!
I also think that the personal drama of Sean Penn's character has no connection with the story. Is he kind to her only because he's widowed?
An above-average film, but I expected more from Pollack.
The third Bond flick is the greatest -it also keeps for me the first place in the TOP three Bond movies with Connery, afterward come "Thunderball" and "You only live twice".
"Goldfinger" is between the more realistic Bond thrillers and the more gadgeted era of 007 (the Aston Martin is actually the first gadget of cinematic Bond).
Sean Connery's character is lighter, wittier and glamorous than before -he'll keep the same magical chemistry in "Thunderball", a year later. Here he fights against Auric Golfinger (Gert Froebe), a megalomaniac who wants to robber... Fort Knox! Bond girls are among the best in the series. Honor Blackman -star of the TV series "The Avengers" before Diana Rigg (later another Bond girl!)- is lesbian pilot Pussy Galore. Bond makes her change her mind about sexual taste...
Shirley Eaton is the girl painted of gold -one of the most famous images of movie history.
"Goldfinger" is the blueprint of all the Bond adventures, for the first time we have all the ingredients which form the classic Bond icon (tuxedo, irony, women, sexual but extremely refined innuendos, gadgets, special effects, huge sets).
In the following years these elements will be present as well, but from "Thunderball" on gadgets, stunts and action take a bigger place in the plot, whereas in "Goldfinger" acting and comedy are more important than the rest.
The jewel of Bond series and one of the British TOP movies of all time.
Il bisbetico domato (1980)
Pretty Celentano movie
"Il bisbetico domato" ("The taming of the Scoundrel") contains in the title a reference to Shakespeare's work "The taming of the shrew"... That's all, because the film has no other connection with the English author.
A rich farmer is well known for being very unkind. He's misanthropic, misogynous and cantankerous. Until he meets by chance a gorgeous girl...
The movie is a typical tailored story for Adriano Celentano, one of the biggest Italian music stars -he's hugely popular in German speaking countries and in the Eastern Europe as well. "Il bisbetico domato" is not a musical, and it is directed by the couple Castellano & Pipolo (authors of many Celentano flicks). It stars beautiful diva Ornella Muti.
The film is fine and funny, although not a cinematic monument. It's just a pretty film, with humor and without big inventions. Certainly we laugh, but above all we watch it because of the main actors -the couple works very well. At the time of its release the picture was, as usual, a smash hit in Italy.
I think you can really appreciate these movies, first, if you're a Celentano fan. I also think you should see them in the Italian version only -because the singer/showman has a peculiar voice and a way of telling the lines you'd completely miss with the translation.
Le fantôme de la liberté (1974)
Two years after "The discreet charm of the Bourgeoisie", Luis Buñuel comes back with another surrealistic gem. "Le fantôme de la liberté" (1974) is his penultimate work, also this one is written with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière.
In the movie there's not a really precise story -it's a collection of surrealistic sketches with many characters... But Buñuel approaches again the typical themes of his filmography -a criticism about bourgeoisie, moral beliefs, social conventions, police...
It's difficult to describe a movie like this one, in which the visual element is very strong. Many scenes and metaphorical situations speak alone -the image is as important as the dialogs, maybe more. This is frequent in Buñuel movies, above all in the last 10 years of his cinematic career -from "Belle de jour" on.
For the visual aspect this legendary Spanish director reminds us of another Spanish surrealist master -painter Salvador Dalì. Actually they were good friends and did together "Un chien andalu"...
Licence to Kill (1989)
A tuxedoed Rambo but not Bond at all
I think "License to kill" is the weakest entry in the series. The first problem is Timothy Dalton. Although he's a good actor, he's definitely not 007. No charisma, no humor. He's too serious, romantic and too sadist. In a certain way he could match the literary Ian Fleming, but he lacks the essential qualities of the cinematic Bond -a witty, cynical, sophisticated super-spy with women and gadgets.
The film itself is NOT a Bond movie. Look at the plot: Bond seeks revenge for a friend of him and the wife, assassinated by drug trafficker Sanchez. British Secret Service doesn't allow him to do that and Bond licence to kill is revoked. Our agent decides to go on all the same...
Usually 007 never works alone: he makes love and kills for the Union Jack only!?! That's what it makes the character funny! With "Licence to kill" 007 makers put an episode from a legendary franchise at the same action level of an ordinary Hollywood picture. The film is also too violent for being a Bond flick.
It's ridiculous seeing Bond searching for revenge and death on his own. Here Bond is a tuxedoed Rambo, but not the myth we knew in all the previous films.
The producers (the Broccolis) made a big mistake with this film, which flopped at the box office (it didn't really flop, but it was the lowest money-grossing film of the 007 franchise). Luckily.
The Living Daylights (1987)
A minor Bond
With the Timothy Dalton era as 007 (which lasts for two films only) the Bond series begins a temporary decline...
I've got nothing against Timothy Dalton, I know he's a good actor. But he simply isn't James Bond -he has neither the sophistication nor the humor for playing the part. The lack of humor is the biggest problem with him -he really takes him too seriously and is too romantic... James Bond is an assassin as well (although he kills legally), so there's no point in humanizing the character.
Purists say the Dalton version is the closest one to Ian Fleming books, unfortunately it doesn't work for movies...
The are good points, nevertheless: Bond comes back in a cold war thriller, in which he has to stop a trafficker in arms linked to a KGB fringe. The plot is more realistic and the film gives something fresher to the series. Locations are unusual for a Bond flick and action scenes are well made.
But the problems are Dalton, as I said; Maryam D'Abo -she's not a memorable Bond girl at all, she seems a copy of Nastassja Kinski, and the bad guys (Joe Don Baker and Jeroen Krabbe) are often ridiculous. John Barry's score, as well, is not very exciting. The legendary composer brings a more contemporary sound, but at the end it seems the soundtrack for a luxurious TV film.
A minor Bond compared to the others. Unfortunately Timothy Dalton will do even worse with the following movie...
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Not the best Bond movie of Sean Connery
In 1967 Sean Connery quits the role of James Bond. Panic! Producers replace him with Australian born George Lazenby, who makes "On Her Majesty Secret Service". This film does reasonably well at the box office, but not as well as the previous episodes... Furthermore, a big part of the audiences and many critics savage Lazenby's performance, rather pale compared to Connery's Bond portrait. "OHMSS" has been revalued since, but at the time of the release it's perceived like a disappointment.
In '71 producers hire American actor John Gavin for "Diamonds are forever" (DAF), but at the very last minute Sean Connery decides to come back to the role for one time only...
The film is a kind of remake of "Goldfinger" -there is Sean, of course; director Guy Hamilton; Shirley Bassey sings the theme; the story takes place in America; here too we have glamorous elements (diamonds instead of gold).
The movie is funny, Sean looks amused and quite relaxed in traveling between Amsterdam and Las Vegas to investigate about a diamond illegal traffic.
Nevertheless it's the "worst" of his Bonds... It's his less interesting outing as 007. When we think about him as Bond we think about the episodes of the Sixties, when the series was at its beginning. "Diamonds" has not the classical atmosphere of "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" -the rhythm of DAF is not constant, there are also too many jokes, and a more American humor of the movie spoils the "Britishness" of 007. The first part of the film is boring, the second half has more action -although the final battle scene is not very well done.
Sean is Sean, but here he looks older than his age -curiously he looks fitter and more charming in "Never say never again", an "unofficial" Bond done 12 years later! By the way his presence in this film saves the show completely and a good entertainment is guaranteed.
"Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto" is one the best films of Elio Petri. This great director used to make films with a strong social content. This movie, which won an Oscar for the best foreign language film in 1970, stars Gian Maria Volonté -one of Petri's favorite actors.
The story is about a fascist police boss, who accidentally kills his mistress during an erotic game. Fate wants him to lead the inquiry for this death. The policeman spreads everywhere clues for his guilt (!). He doesn't do that for justice, he only does this for proving to himself that he's untouchable.
Gian Maria Volonté performance is memorable -as usual... He was a big actor, he could change from one role to the other like an extraordinary chameleon. The film has a solid structure, it is satirical and cynical. The sarcasm towards the police boss is also supported by an excellent musical score by Ennio Morricone.
We miss films like this one, it's one of the examples of Italian masterpieces which aren't produced any more.
La tigre e la neve (2005)
Benigni is back!
Roberto Benigni comes back with a film which allows him to be the comical character we love the most.
Attilio is a poetry teacher, deeply in love with Vittoria -who doesn't share instead the same feelings. She goes to Iraq to work with Fuad, the major Arab poet. In Baghdad, war has just begun and Vittoria is wounded during an attack. When Attilio knows that, he goes there to assist her and to look for the medicines she needs to recover. Many times he risks his own life...
"Pinocchio", Benigni's previous movie, was an "incident". It was an attempt to adapt the Carlo Collodi fairy tale, very artificial and bombastic.
Here the actor chooses a contemporary fact (the Iraq war) to tell a story of love and poetry. Benigni comes back working on self-written material -in such cases he always gets the best results.
Like "La vita è bella" (his most famous and still unbeatable film) this is a story of human relationships in a sad context (the war, as I said). At the same time Benigni doesn't do the same film, he doesn't want to repeat the same concept of laughs and crying. He manages to treat again the theme of surviving but in a different way, he doesn't recreate the same situations of his Oscar-winner picture.
In Italy many people criticized "La tigre e la neve" because it doesn't express a strong opinion against the war. To me it's not true at all: the film IS against the war. There are many examples in the movie which illustrate that (the difficulty of living in Baghdad now, the hospital scenes and the suicide of Fuad). Of course, Benigni's aim was not to show blood and tragedies all the time, because the context itself is tragic. The movie shows how you can fight for the person and the things you love the most, even in a such difficult situation as war.
We laugh often also in this film, but behind Benigni's humor there's more seriousness and maturity. Until 10 years ago we were used to start laughing from the beginning to the end of a Benigni picture; from "La vita è bella" on we saw a change in him -laughs with a more serious approach. Benigni is not a simple clown any more.
All the actors are excellent -Roberto Benigni, his wife Nicoletta Braschi (more beautiful than ever) and Jean Reno (he is the deep Fuad).
Cinematography is very good and the music of Nicola Piovani as well -as always...! We see also in a small participation long time Benigni's friend Tom Waits -he sings in the marriage scene a beautiful song written especially for this movie.
Sotto falso nome (2004)
Original and involving
"Le prix du désir" is a very interesting movie shot between France, Switzerland, Italy and Poland. It's not an action movie at all, and the story is strong and passionating.
A French-Polish writer goes to Italy for the wedding of his son. During the travel he meets a gorgeous girl, with whom he lives an adventure. The day after he discovers that she's the woman who is going to marry his son... But it's not all. Someone threatens him to reveal the truth about his writing career -actually he stole a manuscript of a dead friend writer and published it with his own name. That allowed him a brilliant career...
The story is interesting because it shows a series of situations where the change of name and lies are dominant. We see the destruction of a man and of his fame -with inexorability his own certainties fall down.
It's interesting to see that the titles of this Italian-French production don't mean the same thing. In French the film is called "Le prix du désir", in English we can translate it with "The price of desire". In Italian the title is instead "Sotto falso nome" (in English something like "With a false name"). I don't know why the titles are so different...
But each shows a theme of the film. Actually the man pays a price for the desire, because his misfortune begins with the love story with his son's wife. Furthermore, as I said, the fact of changing name of people and things is a way of hiding the truth -and it happens often in the movie, it's a recurrent theme in the story.
Italian movie-maker Roberto Andò directs the movie with smoothness and confidence. The cast is strong: French actor Daniel Auteuil is excellent in his portrait of the writer (the character has also something very treacherous); Greta Scacchi is his wife and Anna Mouglalis is the sexy girl who makes him fall into disgrace.
I watched "Hustle" only because there is Catherine Deneuve -in fact this is one of the very few movies she made in Hollywood. The pair she forms with Burt Reynolds also interested me.
A LA detective has to discover why a young girl was found dead on a beach. He deals with the father, who obviously doesn't accept her loss and doesn't believe the police explanation -she has committed suicide. At the same time the detective has a relationship with a French prostitute, he dreams of taking her away from the job.
It's a flat unexciting thriller, with quite empty dialogs and useless characters (can anyone explain me what does Ernest Borgnine do in the story?).
Also the elements of the script are quite disconnected to each other -the murder of the girl and the relationship between Reynolds and Deneuve. Nothing is in-depth.
Catherine Deneuve, at the end, is only a decorative presence.
A big disappointment from Robert Aldrich -the director of "The Dirty Dozen".
Basic Instinct (1992)
The only interesting element is Sharon Stone
I decide to divide my review in two parts: one is for Sharon Stone, the other one is for the movie.
Sharon Stone: she's definitely the star of "Basic instinct" and steals the show. She's absolutely sexy, gorgeous, mysterious, charming,... she's a dream for us. And she's a very talented actress too (her best film, to me, is Martin Scorsese's "Casino"). The scene of her police interrogation is unique.
Sharon Stone rating 10/10 (in every way!)
The movie: this is a fast food thriller. At the time of its release it was considered a masterpiece of eroticism and action. It became worldwide famous for being amoral, violent and politically incorrect. To me (apart from Sharon Stone) the film is crap and not revolutionary as they say. Everything is schematic, after all, and dialogs are silly ("That's the **** of the century", "We'll go on ******* like rabbits"... please, they make me laugh!)
Michael Douglas always plays the same role of the frustrated neurotic man -he has always the same face (see "Fatal attraction", "Black rain", "Disclosure"). And the film is full of already seen situations: the cop becomes a little stupid after the beginning of the story with the sexy goddess and police wants to push him away; he doesn't go well and begins smoking -he begins smoking again! Oh my God, that's bad!... ... What a cliché...!
Film rating 3/10
César et Rosalie (1972)
Excellent French cinema
I was amazed from this film! Not only because I usually like Yves Montand and Romy Schneider, but because above all this is a film about human feelings and reactions.
Claude Sautet's works are not intellectual movies, but they have the quality of showing people in real life, with their strength and their weakness, we can find people who laugh and cry. They are films about life, there isn't necessarily an happy ending. (In Hollywood they're not able to talk to us about REAL persons.) Simple, isn't it? A director normally shows life, you may say. But in reality I don't think it's so easy. The risk is to talk about people with exaggerations and melodramatic elements. In movies like "César et Rosalie" we find common situations, people with whom we can identify and share feelings.
Here we have a woman who can't choose between two men... (Ingmar Bergman has another approach, in choosing psychological and darker aspects of people. It's another valid method.) I chose to comment this film because it's an example of intimate cinema, a way of telling stories which talk to hearts.
Roman "Hitchcock" Polanski
"Frantic" is the most Hitchcock-influenced movie of Roman Polanski. The director has touched almost every cinematic genre, although always with a special taste for mysteries and disturbing elements. That's his trademark.
"Frantic" is a more conventional movie in Polanski filmography, but it's very well done and the sensation of something disquieting typical of his films- is always there. An American doctor (Harrison Ford) goes to Paris for a medical congress with his wife. In their hotel the woman disappears without explanations and Harrison Ford begins a nightmarish research throughout the city
The film reminds us of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "North by Northwest" (1959) in that movie a misunderstanding is the motor of the story, here it's something similar but more enigmatic, because we don't know who kidnapped doctor's wife.
This is the first cinematic collaboration between the Polish-French director and his future wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner she's the girl who helps Harrison Ford in this adventure.
Intriguing and exciting: these are the words for "Frantic". Perhaps it's not considered among Polanski's most important movies, but it still looks fresh and entertaining.
Not among the best Veber works, but has great moments
That's another movie of great Francis Veber, the master of French comedy. After masterpieces like "La chèvre", "Le diner des cons" and "Le placard" Veber creates a new story, where two prisoners escape from jail. Veber's formula is always the same: putting together two people who have nothing in common, like a cat and a dog. From that we have many situations of misunderstandings.
The film is fun, although not among the best Francis Veber works. The first part is great and lively, in the second one the movie loses some speed and the story is less exciting.
Some moments are nevertheless memorable, for example all the prison scenes and the beginning of the friendship between Gérard Depardieu and Jean Reno. These situations are really hilarious!
Depardieu and Reno are big actors and work well together. Dialogs, once again, are the main ingredient in Francis Veber style.
Not a masterpiece, as I said, but enjoyable.
Original and creative
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a very interesting and original movie. We can see that French director Michel Gondry directs a very unconventional story, scenes are not shown in chronological order... Gondry takes a solid piece and enjoys himself in deconstructing it, he likes cutting the material in small pieces! Jim Carrey tries to forget the failure of his love story with Kate Winslet. A doctor helps him to erase the past from his mind, but at a certain moment he tries to stop that process.
The film works and has the style of semi-independent American films like "Being John Malkovich" of Spike Jonze: surreal, funny, with a great dose of delicate madness... In fact we have the same screenwriter: Charlie Kaufman.
A good movie. It's also a pleasure to see Jim Carrey in non-weird roles, he can act like any real good actor (he already demonstrated that with "Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon").
La bestia nel cuore (2005)
Everyone has a beast in the heart
Cristina Comencini is the daughter of legendary Italian director Luigi Comencini, one of the makers of the Italian comedy from the Fifties to the Seventies. Cristina is an established director as well -she's also an appreciated writer. Her films are very different from the features of her father -either they're more dramatical or contain a less hilarious comedy.
"La bestia nel cuore" means "The beast in the heart" in English. The film is based on a book written by Cristina Comencini herself.
Sabina (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a dubbing actress, wants to see again her brother Daniele (Luigi Lo Cascio) -who works in America as a Universitiy teacher. They both share a terrible experience: when they were child they were abused by their father.
This horrible experience is like a beast in the heart because it's impossible to recover from. They search for truth and try to elaborate it. In this film there are other characters with painful situations. Emilia (Stefania Rocca) is a blind woman friend of Sabina, she's lesbian; Maria (Angela Finocchiaro) is a 50 year old woman who faces the fact of having been left by her husband for a very very young girl. These people too have a beast in their heart.
The film is dramatical, of course, but the atmosphere is not heavy at all -there are also moments in which we can laugh. So the film doesn't go in only one direction.
There are a lot of reflection hints, it's not an easy film -because we all have bigger or smaller beasts in ourselves...-. But you don't go out of the cinema depressed and sad, not at all. There's a message of hope.
The film his a high quality movie, with excellent actors. Giovanna Mezzogiorno won a price at the last Venice Film Festival: she deserved it because she acts very well. She's dramatical but in a believable way -she doesn't put too much emphasis and pathos in the role. A real actress.
Profumo di donna (1974)
A milestone in Vittorio Gassman's career
Dino Risi is one of the most important directors in Italian cinema, from the Fifties to the Seventies. Generally he's recognized as one of the fathers of Italian comedy ("commedia all'italiana") -the expression doesn't mean that the movies make you laugh all the time, it means that stories are a mix of happiness and bitterness, as life is. And not always there's a happy ending.
Dino Risi worked with the "who's who" of Italian cinema, but he became famous also for casting frequently actors like Gassman, Ugo Tognazzi, Nino Manfredi and Alberto Sordi -they were ideal for characterizing Italian defects and virtues, above all defects...! "Profumo di donna" is taken from a book by Giovanni Arpino. In this 1974 movie Vittorio Gassman is a blind ex military officer who makes a trip from Genova to Naples. A young boy accompanies him. Fausto -Gassman's character- has to deal with the tragedy of being blind, he wants to commit suicide...
Fausto is a man who lost everything; he can feel the presence of a woman (which explains the title "Profumo di donna", in English "Scent of a woman") but doesn't want to be loved for pity.
It's difficult to describe a film which has a lot of themes -friendship, aging, the drama of being different from the others. But everything is treated in a delicate and moving way, although it's not a film for making you cry.
Vittorio Gassman performance is simply superb -he won a prize in Cannes in 1975. The picture got that same year an Academy Award nomination.
In 1992 Al Pacino starred in an American remake -"Scent of a woman", as I said the title is the exact translation from the Italian one. The actor won an Oscar but the film is not as good as the original. Apart from the extraordinary Pacino performance, everything is treated in a typical Hollywood way, with a more schematic story (for example the fact that the blind officer later helps his young companion is absent in the original film).
I suggest the people who only saw the Al Pacino version to see the Vittorio Gassman film -it's softer and more complex at the same time.
A cult Sci-Fi film
"Zardoz" is not an easy film. It has a critical message, literary and cultural references... but at the same time it's enjoyable, everyone can find his own meaning.
I like this film because of Sean Connery -here in the first years after his leaving of 007. Sean runs, shoots and acts. He can really fill the screen with his presence.
I like Charlotte Rampling. She's an extremely talented actress, she was (and she still is!) gorgeous. I think she and Connery create a unique unusual couple, which works a lot.
John Boorman directs the movie a year after "Deliverance". Obviously he has more freedom than in the previous picture, it's a very personal movie. The film is fully shot in Ireland... The landscapes are perfect for the movie.
You can see this movie several times and always find something different, in any case it's not a pretentious film. "Zardoz" is a low budget film, made some years before "Star Wars": Boorman's film shows that Sci-Fi doesn't mean necessarily special effects and huge sets... If the story is good you can have a strong film. "Zardoz" IS a strong fairy tale.
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Good but outdated
I liked this film, even if for me it's not a masterpiece. This is a Sixties glamorous and overrated film, the main interesting points are the presence of McQueen and Dunaway (both young and beautiful), the clothes, the cinematography -in some scenes the screen is divided in different segments- and the superb score of French composer Michel Legrand.
It's an enjoyable movie, but the plot is not very exciting -many sequences, although well made, are too slow. Dialogs are not many and not well developed. It's a "fashion" picture.
I saw better films of Norman Jewison ("In the heath of the night" and "Rollerball" are classics, each in its own genre; "Fiddler on the roof" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" are great musicals; "A soldier's story" and "Agnes of God" are solid dramas).
I prefer the 1999 remake with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo: there's more comedy and the action is better.