Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Il Sorpasso (1962)

Genre


Director


Country

Italy

Cast

Vittorio Gassman, Catherine Spaak, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Luciana Angiolillo, Claudio Gora, Luigi Zerbinati, Franca Polesello, Linda Sini, John Francis Lane, Annette Stroyberg, Nando Angelini, Mila Stanic, Bruna Simionato, Edda Ferronao, Jacques Stany

Storyline

Forty-year-old exuberant, impulsive and capricious Bruno Cortona (Vittorio Gassman) takes shy law student Roberto Mariani (Jean-Louis Trintignant) for a two-day ride though the Roman and Tuscany countries.

Opinion

Today I want to bring you on a journey in the 60s Italy, when Italians were still able to make comedies without falling into the vernacular, as unfortunately happens nowadays.

Il Sorpasso is not just a road movie, but a masterpiece able to make entire generations dream, and to cause the envy of the contemporary audience for a cinema that barely exists today.

On board of the legendary Lancia Aurelia Sport, between an overtake and another, it's not only told a story of road trip, but the story of two people - two Italian stereotypical men in this case - with opposite temper, bold one, shy the other. 

The film finds its strength in the differences between the two men, which complement each other. Bruno is an easy going, forty-year-old man full of life, with a captivating personality, able to get constantly noticed, that perfectly hides his failures and loneliness. Roberto is a young, shy man with his head on his shoulders, and is obedient of his family's wishes about his future. In the two-day course, with Bruno's help, Roberto will meet life, and not only.

Masterfully described by the great Dino Risi, this absolute diversity of character hits you immediately, and you will certainly not remain indifferent: it'll make you laugh, it'll make you sad, and it'll make you think.

Written by Dino Risi, Ettore Scola and Ruggero Maccari, the witty screenplay is filled with great dialogue, and occasionally uses narration - via Robert's thoughts - to inform the audience of the young man's insecurities. 

The black and white cinematography by Alfio Contini is wonderfully evocative, and the music really adds to the film – the scenes portraying sixties iconic dance the twist are memorable.

Another reason of the film's success is the cast, especially the two protagonists, Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Gassman gives a spectacular performance - probably the best of his career - and perfectly fits in the role of Bruno, and Trintignant does a great job as insecure Roberto. Standing out from the supporting cast is a 17-year-old Catherine Spaak who knows how to get noticed.

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