Scen.: Ennio De Concini, Alfredo Giannetti, Pietro Germi. F.: Leonida Barboni, Carlo Di Palma. M.: Roberto Cinquini. Scgf.: Carlo Egidi. Mus.: Carlo Rustichelli. Int.: Marcello Mastroianni (barone Ferdinando Cefalù detto Fefè), Daniela Rocca (Rosalia), Stefania Sandrelli (Angela), Leopoldo Trieste (Carmelo Patanè), Odoardo Spadaro (don Gaetano Cefalù), Angela Cardile (Agnese Cefalù), Margherita Girelli (Sisina), Bianca Castagnetta (donna Matilde Cefalù), Lando Buzzanca (Rosario Mulè), Pietro Tordi (avvocato De Marzi). Prod.: Franco Cristaldi per Galatea, Lux Film, Vides Cinematografica DCP. D.: 105’. Bn.
The notorious ‘honour crime’ is the law that inspires the film’s main character, the Baron Cefalù, to hatch a plan of death and freedom from marriage. At the time of the film’s making, it is estimated that honour killings, which were punished with three to seven years (as opposed to twenty years to life imprisonment for ordinary homicide), were over a thousand per year. […] More than twelve years after his first Sicilian film [In nome della legge], the idealization of the law is turned on its head in this grotesque portrayal of the impunity it perversely creates; the belief in justice as a universal instrument capable of redeeming an archaic society is replaced with the undying malice with which a whole society continues to commit savagery with its customs. […] The true break with Germi’s previous films is the relationship between the narrating voice and the overall language, between using a character’s point of view and its transcription into a way of seeing. […] It all seems filtered through Fefè’s mind and body, through the distance between his facade and his hidden desire. In the opening sequence his inner self is identified with an ability to hover over things and move freely, to be engulfed by a feeling and be disgusted by what surrounds him, with tracking movements and panoramic and zoom shots structured around his narrating voice. From that moment on the narrative effect of Divorzio all’italiana’s opening sequence makes every movement of the lens towards a face, every sudden closing in, and every dolly that circumnavigates the scene (like in the voyeurism scene from the bathroom window or the sequence of the meeting in the clearing on the beach) into the quiver and breath of his body, like using first person (‘I’) in a story. This is the secret and the revolution of Germi’s style in his transition to comedy: how he succeeds in communicating the presence of a body and forming it into a point of view.
Mario Sesti, Tutto il cinema di Pietro Germi, Baldini&Castoldi, Milan, 1997