Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cinema Tuesdays {Divorce Italian Style}

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Marcello Mastroianni stars in this 1961 comedy. He plays Ferdinando, a Sicilian nobleman in a small town.
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This is his house and coat of arms.
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These are his parents.
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This is his wife, Rosalia. They've been married for twelve years and don't have any children, which is hard to imagine in traditional, Catholic Sicily.
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He's bored in his marriage but his wife isn't. You know, she would be so bad if she did a little tweezing and got a different hairstyle.
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This is his sixteen year old first cousin Angela, who lives in the other wing of the house. He wants to marry her, but divorce is illegal in Italy, however marrying one's first cousin isn't.
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So, what is Ferdinando going to do?
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Then he has a brilliant daydream: Kill Rosalia!
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But first, he has to find out if Angela loves him too.
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She does. Umm... yay?
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But, how to kill his wife?
Fortunately, there's a legal loophole.
The crime of passion. All he has to do is to catch his wife with a lover and he gets 3-7 years for avenging his family honour. And since he's an aristocrat, he'll get the minimum sentence.
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But first he has to find a lover, which you can't exactly advertise for.
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Then he discovers some old love letters that her first boyfriend wrote to her, before he was declared missing in North Africa during the war.
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But he's not dead! He turns up one day to restore some art in the church and Ferdinando hires him to restore the frescoes in his living room.
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He also bugs the living room to find out how his plan is going.
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It seems to be working. They still have the same feelings for each other. It's only a matter of time.
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And then La Dolce Vita opens and the entire town goes to see it, because they heard it was dirty.
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Except Rosalia, who has another headache.
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So, Ferdinando sneaks out while Anita Ekberg is dancing.
No, you don't see Ferdinando watching Marcello Mastroianni on screen. That would be weird, but funny.
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Only, instead of meeting for a tryst at the house, he sees Rosalia taking a suitcase to the train station. Only, by the time he grabs the gun and runs to the station, he's too late. For once, the train is on time.
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Then word gets around and the town shuns his family because Ferdinando is a cuckold and the family honour is ruined. The town and his family expect him to do something.
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Then he runs into the boyfriend's wife, who also expects him to do something. Only he doesn't know where they are.
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Fortunately, the local mob guy offers to find them. For the good of the community, you know.
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So, who gets there first? Does he get to marry Angela?

I couldn't find a trailer, but I found a clip:

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