Sunday, July 24, 2005

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

1963 Oscar Winner Best Foregin Language Film

Dir: Vittorio De Sica

Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in three short stories focusing on three different women. Apparently much beloved, I found the film much boring. I cannot indict the acting; both leads have both talent and chemistry. Loren in particular certainly jumps off the screen. And the first vignette, "Adelina of Naples" is quite pleasant and funny. But the middle, blissfully short, story "Anna of Milan" is designed to act as some indict of contemporary mores judging by the movie's title. It relies on caricature and sophmoric attacks on the moden day that I found rather silly. The final story "Mara of Rome" is better, but I cannot say that it gripped me.

The movie seems to be arguing that in the past we had strong community and family ties, but today we are cynical and materialistic, so therefore we need to embrace moderation and religion in the future. Not so sure about that myself. And no matter how well acted, I never found the stories to fit or work together in any meaningful way.

Of course, the fact that I was watching the worst transfer ever (and dubbed no less) did not help matters. There is a remastered version available, but that is not what the Netflix folks sent me. I am willing to admit that it the condition of the DVD might be clouding my judgment.

This film beat out my own beloved Umbrellas of Cherbourg for the Oscar. Now there is a romantic movie that has something to say, with beautiful European actors as well. At least for 1963, I'll take Catherine Deneuve over Sophia Loren.