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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Una Giornata Particolare (aka A Special Day) (1977)

In 1938 Rome as Hitler visits allied Italy and meets with Mussolini, it's a national holiday. As everyone attends the parade festivities, the only two residents left are a housewife (Sophia Loren) and a radio announcer (Marcello Mastroianni) who's recently been fired. A chance encounter between the two of them will affect the woman's life forever. Directed by Ettore Scola, this is an original screenplay but with its two character (the other characters are peripheral and absent for most of the film) story arc and restricted setting, it feels like it was adapted from a play. As such, it's a character driven piece and Loren and Mastroianni imbue their characters with the necessary gravitas and empathy. Mastroianni, in particular, is quite good at blending dignity and a forlorn humanity to emphasize his character's resigned acceptance of his fate. Cast against type as a drab housewife, Loren has a harder time trying to cover up her innate sexuality. The cinematogaphy by Pasqualino De Santis desaturates the color to a faux sepia which gives the film the look of a fading photo album. With John Vernon and Francoise Berd. 

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