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Sunday, August 14, 2016

L'Automobile (1971)

A retired ex-prostitute (Anna Magnani) is something of a beloved figure in Rome's night life. But with her hooker days behind her, even though she's saved money and bought property, she's lonely. She decides that learning to drive and buying a car will give her a new freedom. Directed by screenwriter Alfredo Giannetti (he won an Oscar for DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE), this is a rather poignant look at a woman who's lived her life the way she chose to and without apology who must now come to terms with the consequences of no family, no longtime companion and very few real friends. Magnani is as magnificent as ever and she inhabits her character like a familiar garment. The film is generously laced with humor and she's a force of nature so it irritated me when toward the very end the narrative made her do something foolish, something that she would never do given her character and the picture ends with a rather cruel coda. The cinematography is by Pasqualino De Santis (Zeffirelli's ROMEO AND JULIET) and the score unmistakably Ennio Morricone. With Christian Hay and Vittorio Caprioli. 

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