Tuesday, August 09, 2016

La più bella serata della mia vita

1972, Italy/France, directed by Ettore Scola

A genuinely strange film from Ettore Scola, an adaptation of a Friedrich Dürrenmatt novel in which Alberto Sordi stumbles into a mock trial conducted by a bunch of retired legal eagles in a sprawling castle. There's a sense of incipient madness almost all the time, an oddly hysterical atmosphere lurking just under the surface, both in the trial itself, which the "accused" and the members of the legal profession view very differently, and in Sordi's relationships with the castle staff, with miscommunication or non-communication the main feature. The main distraction, for me, was the post-dubbing of all the actors's voices, standard in Italy in the 1970s -- at times, the discrepancy between the studio-recorded dialogue and the setting, which would have had radically different acoustics, was jarring, and it's sad that there's no French-language audio in existence given that the legal minds are played by Charles Vanel, Claude Dauphin, Pierre Brasseur, and Michel Simon (in one of his final roles). 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States