My Friends (film)
|Directed by||Mario Monicelli|
|Written by||Pietro Germi
Piero De Bernardi
Duilio Del Prete
|Music by||Carlo Rustichelli|
|Distributed by||Rizzoli Film|
|Running time||140 minutes|
The film, which made it to number one on the Italian box-office in front of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, was followed by two sequels, Amici miei Atto II (1982, also by Monicelli), Amici miei Atto III (1985), directed by Nanni Loy.
The invention of a new genre 
Pietro Germi, and then Monicelli, since the former had died without completing the film, he wanted to propose on the big screen many of the typical aspects of Italian society of the middle classes. In the film there are all the elements that characterize the typical average Italian, or the trickster, the bungling, the passionate and what you hunt always in trouble. But one thing unites all these facets: the rice and the desire to live forever comic adventures and cheerful, sometimes creandosi own world. In fact, the "friends" of the film or the Count fallen Lello Mascetti, the architect Rambaldo Melandri, the journalist Giorgio Perozzi, the bartender Guido Necchi and primary Alphaeus Sassaroli creating a manner ideal for relaxing fun from morning to night, forgetting all the troubles, duties and problems that a normal man should take care during the day. The friends do not think just do it and having a great time as they can do, even inventing their own systems to make fun of people and ordinary citizens. The wives of some members are forced to endure the crap that combine everyday make friends, taste very childish and silly. In particular, the wife of Mascetti: Alice, being already in dire conditions of poverty by Raphael, is even more desperate by the nonsense that commits with friends. In fact, often tries to kill himself with the gas left on. The wife of George Perozzi the contrary, it leaves alone with his son, a serious and mean that he does not think about anything but work. Between the two there is no communication since his wife and son can not conceive of the nonsense that makes Perozzi with friends, instead of taking care of his son's future. The so-called "gypsy" ("zingarata") or travel and foolish actions, aimless friends who do often are also made from the famous Gobbledygook ("supercazzola"). Count Mascetti's the best in making this joke of stopping a person and quickly communicate a flurry of words and verbs that have no logical connection and meaningful to the other person remains baffled and confused in the face of what he says Mascetti . In most cases, the party is so upset by the play of the count, who believes he can not understand anything, and even the Italian language, or include places or names mentioned by Mascetti as a "stretcher", "area code" or "inspector wisps" and indicates the desired object, while remaining very surprised. Meanwhile, friends are laughing heartily and make the other person look like a moron. Another characteristic element of the friends is teasing high alert as authorities or ministers of the church and especially invent scurrilous and vulgar songs from important symphonies such as The Barber of Seville. The primary Sassarli instead helps to save the day when the police or other people get angry, because he pretends to know all the magistrates of the city of Florence and most of the politicians in the area. Although the "carnival of illusions" of friends is bound to end one day, the cheerful and witty companions do not think a lot and always find a way to be happy, even in bad situations.
Like in many other Monicelli movies, the main theme of Amici miei is friendship, seen from a rather bitter point of view. It tells the story of four middle-aged friends in Florence who organize together idle pranks (called zingarate, "gypsy shenanigans") in a continuous attempt to prolong childhood during their adult life.
Count Mascetti (Ugo Tognazzi) is an impoverished noble who has no means to support his family, but does not renounce high living pleasures anyway, and has an underage mistress, Titti (Silvia Dionisio). Perozzi (Philippe Noiret) is an easy-living journalist harassed by the unceasing disapproval of his wife and his son. Melandri (Gastone Moschin) is a communal architect whose main goal is to find the ideal woman. Necchi (Duilio Del Prete) is the owner of a café and pool hall where the friends usually plan their zingarate.
During the movie they are joined by a renowned, military-like surgeon, Sassaroli (Adolfo Celi), in whose clinic they recover after being hospitalized, injured after a mismanaged zingarata. Melandri falls in love with Sassaroli's wife, exclaiming "I've seen the Madonna!", only to discover she has psychological problems.
The plot is mostly composed of elaborate practical jokes organized by the friends, including the creation of a fake mafia mob in whose "criminal acts" they involve a pensioner, Righi (Bernard Blier), who used to snatch croissants from the cake tray in Necchi's café, and Mascetti's attempts to save his marriage despite his relationship with Titti. The film ends with Perozzi's death, which still does not deprive the friends of their desecrating hijinks, not even in face of their own mortality; Perozzi himself makes a last joke (a "supercazzola") to the priest. When Perozzi's wife, criticized by Melandri for her lack of tears, comments: "One can weep if somebody dies. But here nobody has died", Mascetti replies: "Well, in reality he had never been so much, but I liked him". During the funeral procession they "homage" their dead friend by telling the wide-eyed Righi that Perozzi was killed for being a traitor to their mafia.
- Ugo Tognazzi as Lello Mascetti
- Gastone Moschin as Rambaldo Melandri
- Philippe Noiret as Giorgio Perozzi
- Duilio Del Prete as Guido Necchi
- Olga Karlatos as Donatella Sassaroli
- Silvia Dionisio as Titti
- Franca Tamantini as Carmen
- Angela Goodwin as Nora Perozzi
- Milena Vukotic as Alice Mascetti
- Bernard Blier as Niccolò Righi
- Adolfo Celi as Professor Sassaroli
- Maurizio Scattorin as Perozzi's son
- The project was begun by Pietro Germi, who could not continue it due to his death. Monicelli, who replaced him, moved the set from Bologna to Florence.
- In the original version Philippe Noiret is dubbed by Renzo Montagnani, who, in the sequels, replaced Del Prete as Necchi.
- One of the most popular scene is that in which the four friends, in order to raise Melandri's mood after his falling out with Sassaroli's ex-wife, organize a zingarata consisting in slapping people stretching out from the windows of a leaving train. One of the victims is Perozzi's son himself.
- The film was shot in Florence and its center was a real bar in Piazza Demidoff, along the River Arno, which then called itself "Bar Amici Miei" and featured posters of the film. In the Nineties it changed its name and was modernized becoming an American bar and losing all connections to the film.