Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Rome, 1960

LES ADOLESCENTES (I DOLCI INGANNI or SWEET DECEPTIONS). Another Italian rarity, this 1960 Alberto Lattuada film is marvellously compelling now, and is a lovely companion piece to those better known Italian films of the time, (like LES DRAGUEURS is a nice unknown companion to those better known French New Wavers). Here we are in Rome in 1960 in crisp black and white images, as we spend a day with a teenage girl, Francesca – yes it is a coming of age film but from the girl’s view.

She is the gravely beautiful Catherine Spaak whom the camera loves and lingers on. It starts with her in bed for several minutes, she gets ready for school, goes out with her brother and friends, meets older man Christian Marquand, gets to meet the aristocracy and bumps into (literally as their cars collide) petulant young gigolo Jean Sorel. The Sweet Life looks very attractive here. She ends up later with Marquand and has her first sexual experience, but is it what she expected? It ends back in her room with her looking into the camera as the film fades ... It all adds up to a very engrossing movie. Spaak went on to a prolific career (Vadim’s LA RONDE, HOTEL) and is still working – she was the mother of Italian detective ZEN (Rufus Sewell) in last year’s BBC series. A Titanus-Carlo Ponti production.

Alberto Lattuada also directed the 1958 De Laurentiis production THE TEMPEST, (Silvano Mangano label), which I liked a lot back then, and it was good to see again recently.
Another marvellous early '60s look at Italy is that recently restored episode by Monicelli, in the now 4-episode BOCCACCIO 70 (1962) featuring Marisa Solinas and Germano Giglioli as the young couple trying to get some time together, a nice addition to the other 3 segments: Anita Ekberg with Fellini, Romy Schneider with Visconti, and Sophia Loren with De Sica!

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