Stai attenta, Rosalia. Non mi provocare. Noi altri neanche parenti non siamo. Solo marito e moglie. Ricordatelo.
Il gatto mammonei is a little gem in the vein of Il merlo maschio : the same protagonist engages matrimonial conventions in similarly radical manner, though owing to the substantial difference between Antonioni (who is in fact an actress, just, one of the few who actually do the job) and Guida (who's a glorified titstand, there's nothing going on behind the perpetually dumbfounded mug) this actually comes out much better. Counterintuitive, perhaps (and not to say that the other's bad or anything), but the fact remains that... well, they just didn't know how to write for a woman, I suppose. Antonioni sfiit'd them, I guess, they froze, whatever it was -- the fact remains that once the (apparently) insurmountable obstacle of a competent female's removed, an anodyne nobody can suddenly outgun Pasquale Festa Campanile, the cinematic juggernaught. Riddle me this wonder whicever way you can ; and yes while we readily agree such a state of things is ridiculous, this agreement between us does little to remove its factuality.
The premise does work exceedingly well for the protagonists, and for the story generally, so perhaps it is the case that the simple passage of time meanwhile revealedii that indeed placing the couple in Veneto, against a vague backdrop of mostly imaginary, mostly imagined marital conventions is roughly the equivalent of using a car for a sled ; whereas making the protagonist a sort of Calabrese Er' Piu, and setting him to earnestly travail, belabour an' sweat under the seismic pressures of geologic strata of self-contradictory pretense ignorantly accumulated over unrecounted millennia the much more productive approach. They certainly use it for all it's worth (and the generaly ignored Lando Buzzanca certainly raises to the part) -- take for an instance the very wannabe-MP household scene wherein the eager father-to-be goes through his stores of condoms which he's bought because not being able to admit he can't, for whatever reason, father children, he much prefers pretending he doesn't want to, in public.
The film's uneven, though in places sparkling with the very shimmer of genius ; and besides, the best vehicle for Guida ever made, so far above anything else she was ever involved in the uncharitable soul could even say it's the only film she didn't manage to ruiniii. Particularly notable, the naturally depicted, unassuming because implicitly obvious, competency of the adult womeniv : they, the wife and her mother, seek out a child-factory in the trailer parksv ; then when that's rejected (on parternity, not efficiency grounds) provide for a widower to carry the child, which doesn't work out (she's not sexually attractive) ; then finally do their best to... well... work with materialul clientuluivi. Definitely a film to see, and think about, and see again. Because, as they say : where the 30 went...———
- 1975, by Nando Cicero, with Lando Buzzanca, Rossana Podesta, Gloria Guida. [↩]
- Not merely for Cicero having the advantage of having already seen Il merlo, but probabil Mimi as well. [↩]
- Crush under her slender thighs, whatever. [↩]
- Also in the same situation the excellent sets, easily had back then, for a song, irreproducible today, for any sum of "money". [↩]
- Exquisitely manned by a nameless cow that gets no lines and a diminutive Sardinian (Tiberio Murgia, I soliti etc). [↩]
- Needless to say the depicted hero's too cucky to actually break and kneel the filly, because how could an actually good film be ever made, god forbid, the world might come undone or something. [↩]