Nella citta l'infernoi is heavy artillery. Even Sordi, this Brad Pitt of the 50s and 60s Cinecitta, carefully hemmed in, masterfully limited and buffered by the arch-competent Castellani, delivers what's likely the best cameo of his otherwise very unevenii career. Masina's usual alcachofa (as she's affectionately known in the harem) readily plays second fiddle to Magnani's outright volcanic cannonade. She's something the fuck else, that woman. Something entirely the fuck else.
Under her warm, coarseiii ventre the whole cast and the whole story grow like dough -- familiar, loving (after a fashion), happy (after the same fashion, which is to say atemporal, meaningless, silent). She raises them through a pasive, inexplicable sort of fermentation into something quite like themselves, as seen perhaps through the kaleidoscopic lens of dreams. I can scarcely imagine who'd want to leave there, and why would they (excepting, of course, the nubile Cristina -- she's being made a sucker of in the usual way). I certainly wouldn't mind spending some time in such company, for with like Infernos and hells such as these... I truly can't imagine who'd ever bother to seek out paradise.
Alas, 'tis not to be ; nor, as the authors carefully point out at the very onset, was it ever been. Nor could it, because should it...
- 1959, by Renato Castellani, with Anna Magnani, Giulietta Masina, Cristina Gaioni, Alberto Sordi. [↩]
- Yes he gets lucky and shines in Il Vedovo, through (purely coincidental, I've no doubt) match between his limited acting abilities and the very peculiar requirements of the libretto ; but he's just as readily insufferable in say Il seduttore. [↩]
- The word needed here's the Romanian grunjos, but you don't have it. [↩]