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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Bologna Diary (6) - Mario Soldati and Jacques Becker

Following one another's films at the Jolly Cinema, I'm finding it easy so far to look at a Soldati film in the afternoon followed by an early evening Becker. The intros have been restricted and the shows have started on time.

Soldati's Piccolo Mondo Antico (Italy, 1941) has so much history and politics in its tale of a young man, Franco (Massimo Serato), disinherited and cheated, when he marries the gorgeous Luisa (the gorgeous Alida Valli). The film twists and turns over a decade and Franco gets himself involved in the political and military endeavours of the day. I wish I could pick it apart better, especially because you have to get some idea that something subversive is going on in this story of resisting those who threaten Italy. Among Soldati's collaborators on the film were Alberto Lattuada who gets credited as a scriptwriter and as the Assistant Director and Dino Risi, credited as an assistant. The film was screened on 35mm, a beautiful copy.

Becker's Falbalas (France, 1945) is oblivious to the turmoil occurring around the film-making. Raymond Rousseau plays an haute-couture fashion designer who becomes besotted with a young woman to whom he promises a wedding dress. She's the fiancee of his best friend and is played by the scrumptious Micheline Presle.

(Aaah that moment when I first saw Presle in a movie when she seduced Hardy Kruger in Losey's Blind Date way back in the early sixties. Still sticks in the mind. Becker builds what starts out as light comedy into a thundering climax. The restored DCP on show was excellent if possibly just a little light grey. No subtitles on the film which caused much straining to read the electronic version in two languages underneath the screen.

Then dinner...a snap

Photo by Neil McGlone. Missing Simon Taaffe, David Thompson

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