The film consists of six short stories created by different directors, but all the stories share one thing: a warm irony to current events.
Italian PORTMANTEAU film, a bit uneven.
Segment four by Pier Paolo Pasolini is by far the best; a completely MINDBLOWING and DERANGED rendering of OTHELLO played in a puppet theatre with human marionettes!
TOTÒ has the main role in this, and also in segment 2, where he hates Italian beatniks and stalks them as THE SUNDAY MONSTER! Both segments are very funny in completely different ways, but segment 2 would probably not have worked without Totò.
Segment 5 is completely unlike everything else; four minutes short, based on a animated cartoon by Pino Zac, and with Silvana Mangano as the Queen of England, and with guest appearances by James Bond (model Sean Connery)! The other three segments are fully watchable, although not so FAR OUT as number 2, 4 and 5. Continue reading Mauro Bolognini, Mario Monicelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Steno, Pino Zac, Franco Rossi – Capriccio all’italiana AKA Caprice Italian Style (1968)
Toto most successfully attempts to go one better than Chaplin in this entry in which he cleverly uses his expressive face not only to telegraph laughs but to induce audience sympathy. Set against a war-scarred Rome in the middle of winter, Toto plays a petty thief, living on his wits to provide for his family, who are uncomplainingly making the best of a small, cold-water flat with no heating. The screenplay divertingly contrasts the gaunt, if talkative Toto with excitable, roly-poly but equally loquacious Aldo Fabrizi, playing a fathead police sergeant whose family is housed in comparative luxury.
The catalyst for the plot’s ingenious action is provided by that under-rated born-in-Wisconsin actor, William Tubbs, who is wonderfully perfect here in a major role which gently pokes fun at Americans. Not only are all his scenes an absolute howl, but they are most cleverly contrived to increase in intensity as the plot progresses. You will chuckle as Toto leads him on a merry path through the Forum in his introductory scene, gasp with delight when he confronts Toto at the grocery hand-out, split your sides when he gives chase to Toto all over the countryside, and absolutely roll on the floor when he complains bitterly to Fabrizi and Carloni at the police station. This riotous scene, cleverly compounded, when Tubbs finally exits, by a gloriously satiric look at various police regulations, marks the end of the First Act.
Continue reading Mario Monicelli & Steno – Guardie e Ladri aka Cops and Robbers (1951)
A group of rogues steal a scroll granting its bearer the property of the land of Aurocastro in Apulia (south of Italy). They elect a shaggy knight, Brancaleone from Norcia, as their leader, and decide to get possession of this supposedly wealthy land. Many adventures will occurr during the journey. Continue reading Mario Monicelli – L’armata Brancaleone aka For love and for gold (1966)
Michael is the younger son of a middle-class family, a strong-willed and free-thinking fellow, who is off in some distant country fighting for a revolutionary cause. Everyone in the family writes to him, describing the events of their lives, as they drift into a kind of conventionality which would perhaps have horrified them earlier. Only Michael’s girlfriend Mara (Mariangela Melato), the mother of his child, retains her independence, even though it is through the help of Michael’s increasingly conventional friends and family that she survives. (allmovie) Continue reading Mario Monicelli – Caro Michele (1976)
‘Necchi (a bar owner), Perozzi (a journalist), Melandri (an architect) and Mascetti (a broken nobleman) live in Florence. They have been friends since their youngest years and spend every free moment together organizing complex and terrible jokes to all the people they meet, or just wandering around Tuscany. One of these crazy trips ends up in the hospital run by military-like Professor Sassaroli. Melandri falls in love with his wife, and steals her from the husband, much to the delight of Sassaroli himself. The relationship won’t last but the Professor becomes the fifth member of the team of friends, and jokes get even more complicated and powerful.’
– Alessio F. Bragadini
Continue reading Mario Monicelli – Amici miei aka My Friends (1975)
Some effort was made by us folks in KG’s Little Italy to honor Mario Monicelli after his death at the end of November last year, but as usual we didn’t reach very far beyond the usual group of converts. Most of you may have read that Monicelli committed suicide at age 95 by jumping off the hospital where he had just been diagnosed with cancer. This ended a career stretching 60 years, of which Un eroe dei nostri tempi is an early gem.
Alberto Sordi, who would join forces with Monicelli in films like La grande guerra and Un borghese piccolo piccolo, shines in this comedy, which must have been decisive when it came to establishing his less-than-heroic movie persona. Continue reading Mario Monicelli – Un eroe dei nostri tempi AKA A Hero of Our Times (1955)
Promotional omnibus film, made for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, featuring portraits of 12 Italian cities.
For all those who will not be going to Italy for a vacation this year… here is the next best thing. A who’s who of Italian directors anno 1990 turn their cameras on a specific Italian city. Most of these (very) short films do not have dialogue of any kind, and rely instead solely on the beauty of the images and music to depict the various cities.
Michelangelo Antonioni (segment “Roma”)
Bernardo Bertolucci (segment “Bologna”)
Giuseppe Bertolucci (segment “Bologna”)
Mauro Bolognini (segment “Palermo”)
Alberto Lattuada (segment “Genova”)
Carlo Lizzani (segment “Cagliari”)
Mario Monicelli (segment “Verona”)
Ermanno Olmi (segment “Milano”)
Gillo Pontecorvo (segment “Udine”)
Francesco Rosi (segment “Napoli”)
Mario Soldati (segment “Torino”)
Lina Wertmüller (segment “Bari”)
Franco Zeffirelli (segment “Firenze”) Continue reading Various – 12 registi per 12 città (1989)