A beautiful opening scene (not the one above, but speaking of which, can you, style-wise, detect an inspiration for Dolce & Gabbana’s collections and ad campaigns?), the result of deep black and brilliant white cinematography enhanced with inventive techniques (the film was shot in the town of Sciacca on the southwestern coast of Sicily, with white alleys perfectly contrasting the actors’ black costumes) and the absolute beauty of Stefania Sandrelli, the main female character. There is an incredible aesthetic to the entire film and the background and architecture are more like co-protagonists in the story.
The follow-up of Divorzio all’italiana (a film that coined the term comedia all’italiana) Sedotta e abbandonata (Seduced and Abandoned, 1964) is even better and even more audacious – a series of escalating comic calamities that occur in a small Sicilian town when sixteen-year-old Agnese (Stefania Sandrelli) loses her virginity to her sister’s fiancé. The things Don Vincenzo, the father, will do to restore the honour of his family! Eloquent, devilishly smart and stylistically executed to perfection, the film is a bitter social satire, ironically criticising the hypocrisy of family values, mores, religious and political conditions of a society undergoing massive changes in the early 60’s. Sicily is portrayed as a fairly conservative, backwards society, with its own rules and pompous patriarchies, which lead to gunshot weddings, kidnapping and misogynistic crimes in the name of familial honour, with lawyers and police only corrupting the matter further. One of the many works of art of a director who was never appreciated at his true value.
photo: movie still | Lux Film, Ultra Film, Vides Cinematografica, Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France