Er più: storia d'amore e di coltelloi is a captivating drama set in the only possible world. Nino Petroni is a guapo. Like a sort of jock I suppose in more accessible cinematic codesii. Rosa Turbine is then the head cheerleader / homecoming queen / etc, and there's others sorta getting in the way. At his juncture I regret having attempted the simplification, because it simply kills the story, not to mention my interest.
Let's start over. Un uomo d'onore, a man who consists of his honor (very strictly and directly opposite a woman, who in that context consists of her progeny) courts a honorable womaniii. The (endonymically) despised runt of a different clan courts the same woman, and attempts to tempt her with his situation, rather than his intrinsic quality. She's not interested. The runt therefore attempts to kill the guapoiv, and dies while running away, by stumbling and falling on his own knife.v The guapo survives, in no small part because the runt's elder brother pays for the healthcare, such as he can kill the guapo with his own hands. Once the wounded recovers enough to stand a date is set for the encounter, coincidentally the date previously set for the marriage.
The guapo explains he has something infinitely more important to do on that day, and an earlier date is set. The woman finds out about the future encounter, and attempts to beg the other party off. "I'm not the one marrying you" is what she runs into, because yes, a honorable existence is readily distinguished from your muddy subsistence at the operational level by this unerring sign, that everything there is a workable, functional and effectual clue. Everything points the right way all the time no exceptions, there's no confusion whatsoever.vi So she goes to the guy who is interested in marrying her, and proposes a trade : his honor for hers, "don't go, spend the whole night with me, I'll whore out."
She's earnest in a most endearing manner, it's self-obviously killing her inside to give out all she's got, but all she asks for is "no tricks", thereby establishing one of the very few respectable female characters in all fiction. I don't know I can readily find her equal. There's of course Kitty, there's a few more contenders, but...
In a break with tradition (as a fictive consensus I mean, very much opposite actual reality), he breaks her faith. Not the other way around, serpents & lackadaisical tradition be damned. After pointing out to her that if she whores out he's not going to marry her anymore, and after she shudders her acceptance in a murdered gale of tears (sooner murder an infant in the grave, or how did that go ?), after taking her one thing to give he sneaks out with the morn leaving behind a sleeping whore in the erstwhile girl's bed. Ain't that a bitch.vii
On the more technical level of actual execution, Celentano's arid delivery and the script's exquisite, biting directness work exceedingly well into each other, producing ample supply of memorable materialviii. The infantile approach to nudity (impossibly absent given the topic) on the other hand hurts the finished product to some not inconsiderable degree. I'm tempted to say this'd be ideally re-shot, with a girl with a sweeter slit ; but the difficulty of finding an equally useful horse for the titular role kinda puts the dampers on that idea.
A mandatory film in any case.———
- 1971, by Sergio Corbucci, with Adriano Celentano, Claudia Mori. [↩]
- Not even that far off, the early modern / late 1800s blue collar Five Points-esque world he inhabits readily maps on the simplicity of the contemporary teenager. [↩]
- This literally means slave : she is honorable who has at all points a male owner, without exception, and that ownership is not of her own hallucination but genuine. [↩]
- Because what else is the impudence of the inadequate if not this pretense to the destruction of their betters ? [↩]
- The scene at the carnival, where "everyone pretends to be MP" given tangible form in those mask... it's something the fuck else. Indisputably one of those absolute moments of transcendence incarnate. [↩]
- There wouldn't be any in your world, either, if you didn't work so hard at secreting it. If you didn't spend every waking minute making up bullshit "confusion" to be confused by... there'd be nothing whatever to confuse you or at all confusing. [↩]
- It really doesn't matter what happens past this point. The conflict's excellence is what makes the work remarkable ; the conflict's resolution's indifferent in critical consideration -- all it can possibly do is align the author with one tendentiousness or another, but the author's entirely irrelevant to literary criticism. [↩]
- Unapologetically superlative, too. Just the bar encounter,
Good day to all
... except for one
... ... who is a shithead
... ... ... along with anyone who doesn't tell him so
... ... ... ... while singing and dancing.
leading to a barfull singing and dancing "you're a shithead", I mean holy shit what the fuck's left besides ? What's more ?
It's not like they don't leave anything on the table. It's that they take it all along with the very table itself. [↩]