Ettore Scola

Sog., Scen.: Ettore Scola, Sergio Amidei. F.: Armando Nannuzzi. M.: Raimondo Crociani. Scgf.: Dante Ferretti. Mus.: Armando Trovajoli. Int.: Jean-Louis Barrault (Nicolas Restif di Bretonne), Marcello Mastroianni (Casanova), Hanna Schygulla (Contessa Sophie de la Borde), Harvey Keitel (Tom Paine), Jean-Claude Brialy (Jacob), Andréa Ferréol (Adélaïde Gagnon), Michele Vitold (De Florange), Laura Betti (Virginia Capacelli), Enzo Jannacci (cantastorie). Prod.: Opera Film, FR3. 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

La Nuit de Varennes was the last thing that Sergio Amidei worked on before his death. It is also entirely made up. It is a period film, but also contemporary, so it seems to me, in the sense that certain questions that came into existence with the French Revolution two hundred years ago are still valid today; they indicate problems that have not yet been resolved. So what the characters are talking about is relevant to what is going on now: there are intellectuals, reactionaries, progressives and idiots, just like today.

Ettore Scola


The crowd gathered at the market under the arch of Pont Saint-Michel flocks to see the new attraction brought by Italian travellers who have just landed on the banks of the Seine. It is “EI Mondo Niovo”, a wooden box with a rudimentary eyepiece that lets the viewer look inside while alternating prints depict historical events described by the barker… It is not so much a pretext for illustrating the decisive events of the last three years, from the summoning of the Estates General to the storming of the Bastille, but rather a way of immediately entering into the mechanisms of popular imagination that function as a backdrop to Ettore Scola’s La Nuit de Varennes, the basis of its structural form.
First of all, the “little box” of Mondo Nuovo sets up the film’s relationship with history, in which awareness of the present is reflected in the questions of the past, risking the “benefit of hindsight”. The story’s various levels intertwine, overlap and allude to each other in a sort of passing of the baton that makes us believe we are following one storyline when actually we are already on a different path… The “little house box” is also the closed space of the stagecoach where the main characters reflect on the historic moment they are in… Viewers are invited to participate in events through the intercession of the stagecoach’s passengers, while the big green carriage drawn by six horses leads the way almost to the end. They do not share the backstories of the popular, indifferent, extraneous, absent characters, at least until the sudden swerve with which the journey of crossed paths reaches its conclusion and everyone is impelled to rush to Varennes to be present on the stage of history.

Orio Caldiron

Copy From

Restored in 2010 by courtesy of Gaumont at Éclair laboratory, from the camera and sound negatives