Marco Ferreri

Sog.: Liliana Betti. Scen.: Marco Ferreri, Liliana Betti con la collaborazione di Riccardo Ghione. F.: Mario Vulpiani. M.: Ruggero Mastroianni. Scgf.: Tommaso Bordone. Int.: Jerry Calà (Benito), Sabrina Ferilli (Luigia), Valentino Macchi (Chiominto), Laetitia Raineri (Maria), Anna Duska Bisconti (donna col fiore davanti al cinema), Luciana De Falco (Angela Riccardi), Doriana Bianchi (Giovanna, la giornalaia), Maria Rosa Moratti (signora sulle scale), Massimo Bucchi (don Giuseppe), Cinzia Monreale (ragazza della neve). Prod.: Vittorio Alliata per SOI – Società Olografica Italiana. DCP. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In his penultimate film, Ferreri created one of his secret masterpieces, deeply recognisable yet at the same time unlike any other work of his. He took one of the most disparaged comic actors of popular cinema of that period, Jerry Calà, emphasized his physical substance and turned him into an excruciating creation. Benito (a significant name) is an obscure salesman of second-rate cleaning pro- ducts who records his squalid fantasies and his attempts to approach women in his diary. The story is once again told in a straightforward way, and the work on set design, increasingly central to Ferreri’s films, reaches a particular peak. Benito’s diary interestingly mirrors another travel diary around Rome, that of Nanni Moretti in Caro diario, which was released a few months later. Some of the same locations can be seen, and some similar situations are shared by both films (Latin dance; the school in Rome’s popular neighborhood of Garbatella, here featuring as a mental health centre). But while Moretti’s journey was a return to life and a rediscovery of the city, accompanied by the actor-director’s smooth handwriting, Ferreri’s is a lapse into mental illness, with surreal, harrowing phrases and an opaque urban landscape, with no clear centre. Italian cinema at that time was rediscovering cities and places, from Rome to Naples to Sicily. But Ferreri goes beyond, and the relevance of the locations leads down a blind alley, to a mirror reflecting the desolation of the characters. This is probably the director’s most subjective film, the one in which he participates in a character’s torment, however depraved it may be. Without abandoning his ferocious and grotesque view, the old director seems to rediscover a kind of pity, in which even the female characters, who he had always treated ruthlessly, display a spark of life, in the form of a smiling (and, for once, possibly innocent) Sabrina Ferilli.

Emiliano Morreale

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