Allegro Non Troppo
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|Allegro Non Troppo|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruno Bozzetto|
|Produced by||Bruno Bozzetto|
|Written by||Bruno Bozzetto
|Distributed by||Roxy International (1977) (Italy)
Specialty Films (1977) (USA) (subtitled)
Allegro Non Troppo is a 1976 Italian animated film directed by Bruno Bozzetto. Featuring six pieces of classical music, the film is a parody of Walt Disney's Fantasia, two of its episodes being derived from the earlier film. The classical pieces are set to color animation, ranging from comedy to deep tragedy.
At the beginning, in between the animation, and at the end, there are black and white live-action sequences, displaying the fictional animator, orchestra, conductor and filmmaker, with many humorous scenes about the fictional production of the film. Some of these sections mix animation and live action.
The film was released in two versions. The first includes live action sequences in between the classical pieces; the second version of the film omits these, replacing them with animated plasticine letters spelling out the title of the next piece of music.
In music, an instruction of "allegro ma non troppo" means to play "fast, but not overly so". Without the "ma", it means Not So Fast!, an interjection meaning "slow down" or "think before you act".
The common meaning of "allegro" in Italian is "joyful". The title reveals therefore a dual meaning of "allegro", and in addition to meaning "Not So Fast!" can also be read as "joyful, but not too much".
- Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, an elderly satyr repeatedly attempts to cosmetically recapture his youth and virility, all in vain. With each failure, the satyr gets smaller and smaller, until he roams across a vast countryside which turns out to be a woman's body.
- Dvořák's Slavonic Dance No. 7, Op. 46, begins in a large community of cave-dwellers. A solitary cave man wants to better himself and builds himself a new home. From this point on, the rest of the community copies everything that he does. He is annoyed that everyone is able to keep up with his advances so quickly. His attempts to break away from them leads to his planning a bizarre act of mass vengeance with unintended and humorous consequences.
- Ravel's Boléro, primordial sugar water at the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle left behind by space travelers attains life, and progresses through fanciful representations of the stages of evolution and history until skyscrapers destroy all that has come before. This segment parallels The Rite of Spring segment from Fantasia, complete with a solar eclipse. Its opening moment was used as the image for the film poster.
- Sibelius's Valse triste, a cat wanders in the ruins of a large house. The cat remembers the life that used to fill the house when it was occupied. Eventually all of these images fade away, as does the cat, just before the ruins are demolished.
- Vivaldi's Concerto in C major for 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, Strings and Continuo RV 559, a female bee prepares to dine on a flower in elaborate style replete with utensils and a portable TV, but is continually interrupted by two lovers sitting down for a romantic interlude on the grass. After having her meal interrupted several times, each time being forced to gather up her things and scramble to safety, she finally decides enough is enough and the male lover gets it in the end.
- Stravinsky's The Firebird (specifically The Princesses' Khorovod and The Infernal Dance of King Katschey) begins with a lump of clay molded by a monotheistic symbol of the omniscient pyramid, first making a few unsuccessful creatures with overly awkward limbs, then finally the Adam and Eve as portrayed in Genesis. Adam and Eve then transform into cel animation and, as in Genesis, the serpent comes up to them, offering the fruits of knowledge in the form of an apple. After they refuse it the serpent swallows the apple himself. Falling asleep, he is immediately plunged into a nightmare in a hellish environment where he is first tormented by fiery demons and then plagued by things that are supposed to corrupt humankind (sex, alcohol, money, material objects, drugs, violence); he also grows arms and legs and is magicked into a suit and fedora. When the music ends after he wakes up, he is still wearing the suit and hat but after telling Adam and Eve his dream in a fast-motion and incomprehensible manner, he sheds the suit (losing his arms and legs but keeping the hat) and spits up the still-whole apple.
- In an epilogue sequence (which features an assortment of short, unidentified orchestral clips instead of a single piece, though Slavonic Dance No. 7 can be very briefly heard again towards the end) the film's host asks an animated Igor-type monster (identified as "Franceschini") to retrieve a finale for the movie from a basement storeroom. Franceschini rejects several of these, but delightedly approves of one which depicts a ridiculously escalating war, ending with the earth exploding. The action returns to the host and the conductor discussing their next project. After a bit of brainstorming the host reveals his latest original and brilliant idea: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the title Sleeping Beauty. This scene turns out to be another finale being watched by Franceschini. After it ends, the serpent from the Firebird Suite pops out and bites him on the nose, and the words "HAPPY END" drop on them, the serpent coming out of the "D".
Live action sequences
The uncut film also contains comic live action sequences, in black and white blended with occasional color animations, that parody the Deems Taylor introductions from Fantasia. "The Presenter" (Maurizio Micheli) starts off with an exaggerated version of Taylor's opening introduction in Fantasia ( "A new and original film" .. "you will see the music and hear the drawings" .. "a fantasia") only to be interrupted by a phone call from California informing him that the movie had already been done. He angrily objects, dismissing the caller as an ill-mannered liar, explaining to the audience that the caller claims that someone ("Prisney", "Grisney", "some American") had done this years before, then telling the caller to at least watch the movie and hangs up. Next the Presenter introduces "The Orchestra Master" (Néstor Garay) and an orchestra made up of little old ladies as the Orchestra Master roughly rounds them up into a large trailer for transport to the theater. As the trailer heads out to the theater the Presenter exults "Pisney has already done this?". Lastly before the first animated music segment (Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune), the Presenter introduces "The Animator" (Maurizio Nichetti). as the Orchestra Master retrieves him from a dungeon-like cell in which the Animator ("a free artist") is chained to a wall (as the Presenter puts it: "a binding contract based on trust and mutual respect"). A pretty young cleaning woman (Marialuisa Giovannini) also appears in each segment, although she's barely acknowledged by any of the characters except the Animator (who seems to take an increasing fancy to her as the movie progresses). Each sequence portrays action (like the tossing of a Coca Cola bottle) that leads directly into the next animated portion of the film and occasionally includes references to a previous segment (such as a chamberpot appearing on the Orchestra Master's head or the female bee and the serpent from their respective segments appearing briefly in the subesequent live-action sequences). After the "Ravel's Bolero" chapter, a gorilla (inspired by the animated character in the Bolero) also appears a few times, first chasing then dancing with The Animator, then later beating up the Orchestra Master who has attacked the Animator. After the Firebird sequence, the Animator transforms the cleaning woman into a cartoon fairy tale princess and himself into a prince before both float away leaving the Presenter and Orchestra Master without a finale leading into the epilogue sequence.
- Maurizio Micheli as The Presenter
- Maurizio Nichetti as The Animator
- Néstor Garay as The Orchestra Master
- Maurialuisa Giovannini as The Cleaning Girl
- Osvaldo Salvi as Man in Gorilla costume