Commedia all'italiana (i.e. «Comedy in the Italian way») or Italian-style comedy is an Italian film genre. It is widely considered to have started with Mario Monicelli's I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) in 1958 and derives its name from the title of Pietro Germi's Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce Italian Style, 1961).
Rather than a specific genre, the term indicates a period in which the Italian film industry was producing mainly brilliant comedies, with some common traits like satire of manners and a prevailing middle-class setting, often characterized by a substantial background of sadness that would dilute the comic contents.
What is the Commedia all'Italiana
As he said in an interview with the director Mario Monicelli, the Italian comedy (Commedia all'italiana) is something very simple, which is closely tied to popular culture of Italy. It is a tangle of stories of poor and unfortunate in a highly unfortunate and negative, ie the period of poverty that followed in Europe and especially in Italy after the end of World War II. In any history of the films of this genre, there is a group of thieves and bandits who would like to make ends meet ramshackle preparing a big hit. However each has its problems and its difficulties, wanted to ignorance, incompetence, inefficiency of the means for unrequited love and for many other mishaps. Thanks to these seemingly unnecessary misunderstanding the whole plot of the story unfolds, allowing the viewer to have a clear and precise vision of the deficiencies of the Italians of that period and the gloomy weather and carnival at the same time for the whole Italy. The group of cheaters, apparently came with deceit and cunning to what we want, almost always at the end of stroia finds himself duped and crushed economically and psicologicalmente even worse than it was before. Who wins the story is always the most powerful, or in the political arena or in some other social context. What is left to the viewer that makes him laugh and the jokes are just the repeated blunders of the actors who have exhibited during the preparation of their shot that would make them famous.
The element of sadness is very much present in all the stories on the theme of Italian comedy, do not just think only the mockery of the poor people who can not stay in place, but to the bitter end rich a bitter smile and a dim hope of the protagonists into the future. Just think of the situation or the tragic end of the film Il sorpasso (Dino Risi) or the malinconic end of the film I soliti ignoti in which thieves have failed in their coup, losing everything they had. Another important feature of this type of comedy is the feeling, although the social condition of the people who populate the stories is extremely low, the protagonists have shown great will to live, to love, to dream, to become almost a taste of the film sentimental. What breaks this feeling is a typical Italian clumsiness or a fall, which immediately pulls the viewer a big laugh. The protagonist is at once sentimental duped. In the sixties and seventies such merged with the satire. Even in these stories, such as in Signore e signori buonanotte (1976), as it denotes the skill in manifesting Italian taste satirical scenes is exaggerated and extremely scratchy. The characters are targeted by powerful people or satire inept people, extremely rude, bad, almost animalistic, almost personalities related to the masks of the Commedia dell'arte. The Italian comedy has ceased to exist in the eighties, by which time the actors matadors had become old and when he was stating a comic genre focused more on the expression vulgar and abusive of the characters, which followed very American models. With the Americanized trasformation of this comic genre in Italy, the kind of Commedia all'italiana finally died.
The last film that famous still strongly reflects the characters of the Italian comedy is Il marchese del Grillo, directed by Mario Monicelli (1981). Alberto Sordi plays the role of a spoiled rich Marquis of Rome who is bored by the day. For this he jokes designs to no end for the poor and the helpless, as if they were toys from the living room. His cynicism joker is not stopped even by the power of Pope Pius VII, that could very well be sentenced. In this film we still strongly reflects the character and prankster kid of the average of the times of the sixties, who thinks only caring about himself and what he has, not caring of others and to those most in need. Cynicism is the main theme of this film, based on a true story.
Vittorio Gassman, Ugo Tognazzi, Alberto Sordi and Nino Manfredi were the four top stars of Italian Comedy in the 1960s and 1970s, followed by newcomers such as Stefania Sandrelli, Monica Vitti, Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Catherine Spaak; or dramatic stars in comic roles such as Marcello Mastroianni, Enrico Maria Salerno, Claudia Cardinale.
In 1961, Dino Risi directed Il sorpasso, now a cult-movie, then Una vita difficile (A Difficult Life), I mostri (The Monsters, also known as 15 From Rome), In nome del Popolo Italiano (In the Name of the Italian People) and Profumo di donna (Scent of a Woman).
Monicelli's works include La grande guerra (The Great War), I compagni (Comrades, also known as The Organizer), L'armata Brancaleone, Vogliamo i colonnelli (We Want the Colonels), Romanzo popolare (Popular Romance) and Amici miei.
New Commedia all'italiana
|Camera d'albergo||1981||Mario Monicelli||Vittorio Gassman, Monica Vitti|
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