Il sorpasso (1962), directed by Dino Riso, is actually one of the best comedy-drama films about life you will encounter in the European cinema. Largely unavailable until this year, when The Criterion Collection issued a wonderful remastered edition, Il Sorpasso is one of a kind. Bruno Cortona (Vittorio Gassman) is a soon-to-be middle age man looking for an adeventure and a short holiday, full of relaxation. He meets by pure chance a young law student, Roberto Mariani (Jean-Louis Trintignant), very shy and introverted, whom he convinces to take part in a one-day joyride. The movie belongs to Vittorio Gassman from every point of view. His charisma can easily go from foolish observations to complex humourous situations and then to drama when you least expect. The dialogue simple and smart at the same time, social connotations and humour are present all the way, yet everything is subtle. Alfio Contini’s cinematography is complimentary to the setting of the movie, mostly in Tuscany. I won’t forget the music by Riz Ortolani, which adds flavour to any Italian classic.
photo: movie still