Divorzio all’italiana (1961)

by guest writer

Divorzio all’italiana (Divorce, Italian Style), directed by Pietro Germi, is our first choice for this month dedicated to art-house cinema. The term of ,,art-house film” can be defined as a canon of movies that marks them as different from mainstream Hollywood productions. Furthermore, this genre presents dilemmas that are probed and investigated in a deep manner, usually with an ending open to interpretation. A certain degree of experience and culture are required to understand the true values of such films as opposed to mainstream cinema, where everything is offered and served to the viewer without any additional thinking being requested.

Coming from a director who was surprising to be seen in this new light (an amazing spirit and sense of humor), it is even more intriguing. Pietro Germi achieved success in Italy with works that included the Neo-Realistic film Il testimone (1945) and a few melodramas, of which the most representative one is Il Ferroviere (1955). Divorzio all’italiana established a name for itself in Italy and immediately in the US as a landmark of ,,commedia all’italiana”, a genre that flourished in its mother country after the release.

The subject of Divorce, Italian Style is rooted back into Italian beliefs and morals, at a time when the law permitted a crime of passion to be treated as a special case and therefore the sentence to be seriously reduced accordingly. Don Ferdinando Cefalù (aka Fefè), played by Marcello Mastroianni, is a married Sicilian bourgeois falling in love with his beautiful young cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli). This being said, he must invent the circumstances of a future crime of passion. Enjoy this wonderful comedy with its bitter-sweet end with the brilliant, charismatic Mastroianni in one of his unforgettable screen appearances.

PS: A list of classic Christmas movies you can find here.


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