To be truthful, when I first sat down to write this review (on the dubious strength of having seen the film last night, before walking a nude whorei through the streets of Salitral) I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But then, as I reached for the L'avare reference and failed to find anything there, then I say the sudden intuition of what's about to transpire drew beads of sweat upon my forehead.
So, L'avaroii is a rather daring Italian attempt, coming as it does a decade after L'avare. There's nothing wrong with daring, and it's especially great that finding themselves in the difficult position and deciding to press on regardless, they stuck to daring across the board (small natures tend to react by covering all other bets whenever they do something they perceive as risky, an approach which all but guarantees failure). Thus we have an Italian Harpagon, who lives in Rome, and meets the pope, and gets involved in the internecine bickering of the cardinal college. What of it ?
The restructured play, with a Harpagon who owns a man who runs a loan sharking operation as well as a woman who runs a brothel (and aspires to marry him, nonsense of all fucking time) is a lot more adult, a lot more truthful, and human, and realistic than the very... well, to be frank, very bowdlerish Moliere original. Yes the clueless, useless young cunt is all caught up in the strange notions of "propriety" that Moliere wasted so much of his time withiii -- but she alone! No one else buys into, or even bothers considering her nonsensical output at face value ; and then on one hand all it takes is a little shove to the poor house to change her mind, and on the other her mind changes quickly, cleanly and well. What's not to like ?
Alberto Sordi's manner of interrupted acting works, as the Italians say, a tratti ; Antonelli is too hemmed in to do well, and they don't even let her get naked anymoreiv. The rest besides them two is just as unrecoverable here as it was in the French version, the play's just not all there, what can you do (and besides, with typical Italian superficiality, they didn't seriously think through the unwinding of threads, so there's a lot of Elmer's glue pooling about).
Still, I'd much rather watch this than Cameron Diaz' remake of that terribly bad "Jason and Jessica Make a Porno" thing, the utterly reprehensible Sex Tape (2014, by no one worth the mention, with no one worth the mention). In a word, at least they're not UStards, you know ?———
- "What if this is going to be your life from now on ? You'll just have to live naked, on the street."
The proposition, I should mention, is somewhat bolstered by my having shown her various historical Ana Magnani pieces, she has some idea that her sisters lived in quite such a... savage, freely yet bluntly savage manner not even so very long ago. So she yelped and she moaned, she does these cute little noises we keep making fun of her for, and eventually managed to offer that she had dedicated her entire life prior, and quite deliberately, to avoiding just that. Worked hard in school, worked hard to get a job, and at the job, and... and... and it doesn't actually even sound so bad. But would I be around ?
- 1990, by Tonino Cervi, with Alberto Sordi, Laura Antonelli. [↩]
- Look upon it and despair, ye proponents of "classical superiority" :
Hé quoi ! charmante Élise, vous devenez mélancolique, après les obligeantes assurances que vous avez eu la bonté de me donner de votre foi ? Je vous vois soupirer, hélas ! au milieu de ma joie ! Est-ce du regret, dites-moi, de m'avoir fait heureux ? et vous repentez-vous de cet engagement où mes feux ont pu vous contraindre ?
Forget about all this idiotic artifice already, it's only there to mask your own existential fear -- and it fails to do it, too! Let the woman get close to her nature, anything else's a waste of everyone's time -- and you don't have that much of that, now do you! [↩]
- Which purely gratuitous idiocy I suspect embittered her to the point of rather ruining her performance, and for absolutely no good reason at that! What, precisely, does the twenty-eight year old Anna Kanakis have that the forty-nine year old Laura Antonelli doesn't have ? I tell you I don't see it, I'd much rather the matron were nude now and again than not at all. [↩]