In this stylish and offbeat black comedy, Benito ( Jerry Calà) keeps a diary of his sexual fantasies and cravings. As a result of his on-again, off-again relationship with the beautiful and insatiable Luigia (Sabrina Ferilli), his thoughts along these lines have grown increasingly bizarre. For his own part, he is driven to pick up and bed women at almost every opportunity. As the fantasies recorded in his diary consume more and more of his life, and grow darker and darker, his ordinary waking life becomes flatter and duller, until he disappears altogether.
Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
Anguishing, exalting, tender and pathetic, Marco Ferreri’s “Diary of a Maniac” is probably one of this idiosyncratic director’s finest works. Its black humor traces the life of a lonely soap salesman as he follows doomed love around an imaginary, yet intensely real, Rome. Pic’s original modernity should capture the interest of art-house audiences offshore. It may prove too offbeat to go wide in Italy, despite a cast aimed at drawing in local comedy fans.
Made on a low budget, pic overflows with a feeling of stylistic freedom. The story is told in short flashes, which the hero reads from his diary.
Benito (played with unsuspected candor by popular comic star Jerry Cala), the “maniac” of the title, lives in cheap rented rooms and makes a humiliating living peddling toilet-bowl detergent.
Despite having a sexually insatiable girlfriend Luigia (Sabrina Ferilli) who’s crazy about him, Benito can’t resist constant, casual affairs with women of all descriptions and ages.
At pic’s center is Benito’s madcap, neurotic diary, full of entries about heart palpitations, stomach acidity and the physical effects of meeting females who “provoke” him on trams. Its grotesque observations faithfully chronicle the life of a little man on the skids, who never knows where his next meal is coming from.
Instead of the usual wisecracks from the average-Joe characters he has played in a long series of fluffy comedies, here Cala is a perfect deadpan in delivering bizarre one-liners and reading pages of off-the-wall diary entries.
This may be the breakthrough film for Ferilli, who throws herself into the role of the oft-disrobed sexpot with such irrepressible joie de vivre that she becomes a convincing and likable character.
One of”Diary’s” most winning qualities is its evident affection for life’s rejects and “ordinary” people. Film is populated by a wide range of extras with memorable but not conventionally attractive faces.
Pic is a visual pleasure, thanks to Mario Vulpiani’s modernistic, precision camerawork and Tommaso Bordone’s slumming-chic art direction.
Gato Barbieri’s sax solo (shades of his score to “Last Tango in Paris”) works surprisingly well in this completely different context.
If traces of Fellini peek out of “Diary,” it may be thanks to Ferreri’s co-scripter Liliana Betti, a longtime Fellini aide-de-camp.
1.45GB | 1h 25mn | 1024×576 | mkv
Subtitles:Custom Italian and English