5/4/2007 through 5/10/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
When critics say they don't make them like that any more, the 1962 Italian classic Mafioso
may well serve as the definitive example of complex, brilliantly
kaleidoscopic filmmaking that is sorely lacking today. Made in 1962 in
wonderful black and white, Mafioso segues from melodrama to
ironic comedy, from frothy farce to pratfall silliness, and from
affectionate observation to sad contemplation.
Italian director Alberto
Lattuada presents this amazing emotional and physical range with
flawless ease and elegant, skillful shifts of mood and action. He
trusts the intelligence of his audience to engage fully with the
dramatic irony and to understand the tongue-in-check humor while still
finding the characters charming.
Mafioso begins in Fiat's Milan factory with foreman Antonio
Badalamenti efficiently and officiously supervising the high tech
assembly line. Minutes later, revealing another facet of his
personality, Antonio makes a frantic vacation exit with wife Marta and
two daughters for Calamo, his village home in Sicily. Their first trip
there will bring surprising, memorable experiences including a
nostalgic reunion with his unusual family and deference to the
feudalistic mores still in full force. Antonio respects the culture and
immediately visits Don Vincenzo to deliver a necessarily ornate but
also maudlin gift from the Fiat factory CEO. Don Vincenzo rules with a
casual, unquestioned command. As Antonio walks into the predictable
crisis, his ebullient, sunny disposition will be tested.
especially by the great Alberto Sordi, add delight and intensity to the
curious events. The openness of the Sicilian landscapes contrasts
powerfully with the entrapment physically and metaphorically of the
Sicilian culture. Piero Piccioni's soundtrack adds a complementary,
wordless commentary, and the neorealistic cinematography enhances the
immediacy of this curious world of collisions and coping. Director
Lattuada has long been overshadowed by celebrated countrymen Federico
Fellini, Vittorio de Sica, and Rossellini. They should happily make
room at the table for Lattuada because Mafioso is a masterpiece. In Italian with English subtitles, a new 35 mm print of Mafioso is playing at Landmark's Tivoli theatre through Thursday, May 10th .
Folk School of KDHX hosts monthly square dances at the Magnolia Café and The Stage at KDHX in Grand Center. It's the perfect place for the Square Dance Revolution! No partner or experience necessary.
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