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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Io La Conoscevo Bene (aka I Knew Her Well) (1965)

A naive young girl (Stefania Sandrelli, THE CONFORMIST) leaves her country home for Rome where she aspires to be a model/actress. But she lacks the passion and drive and instead ends up living "la dolce vita" as a party girl. Directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, his film is often compared to Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA but with a female protagonist. Actually, I think the film to compare it with is John Schlesinger's DARLING which came out the same year though I think CONOSCEVO is the better film. Both movies deal with vacuous young women with a shallow "party" lifestyle, drifting from man to man. But DARLING's Diana was heartless and calculating and our lack of empathy for her made us distant observers. Sandrelli's Adriana may be as vacuous but there's a sweetness and innocence about her that makes us hope that something good will finally happen for her. Adriana is a victim of the debauched and cynical "la dolce vita" 60s, Diana was a part of it. The screenplay (which includes Ettore Scola among its 3 writers) is a series of moments which add up to a devastating conclusion. Pietrangeli crams the film's soundtrack with 60s Italian pop which is very effective. The large cast includes Ugo Tognazzi, Jean Claude Brialy, Franco Nero, Karin Dor, Mario Adorf, Enrico Maria Salerno, Nino Manfredi, Robert Hoffman and Veronique Vendell. 

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