Jun 9, 2008

Gods of Cinema: Dino Risi

One of the great Italian film directors of commedia al' italiana, Dino Risi, has left the building at the ripe age of 91.
My favorite film of his, the classic Il Sorpasso is a masterpiece of irony and sadness. It also features together on screen the great Jean-Louis Trintignant and Vittorio Gassman. What more could anyone ask for? All I can say is that when I was a little girl in Mexico, people had their car horns sound like the horn of Gassman's car in Il Sorpasso, a relentlessly catchy, happy tune which my mind is humming as I write this. When I saw the bitterly ironic movie years later, a chill went down my spine.
Risi's original version of Scent of a Woman had everything that the bloated, clueless American version with Al Pacino didn't: wit, grace, irony, elegance, verve, panache, zest. Al Pacino is amazing (albeit not in that movie) but he is not and never will be and there will never be anyone on Earth that can fill the shoes of Vittorio Gassman.
Get both these movies from Netflix, plus I Mostri, a series of comic vignettes with the greatest Italian comedy actors and appreciate the work of a master comedy director.

“I feel a great pain for his death,” Ms. Loren told The Associated Press. “His movies were beautiful and funny.”

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