Sog.: Sergio Amidei. Scen.: Sergio Amidei F.: Rodolfo Lombardi. M.: Jolanda Benvenuti. Scgf.: Mario Garbuglia. Mus.: Carlo Innocenzi. Int.: Lucia Bosè (Marisa Benvenuti), Cosetta Greco (Elena), Marcello Mastroianni (Marcello Sartori), Eduardo De Filippo (sor Vittorio), Ave Ninchi (madre di Marisa), Leda Gloria (madre di Elena), Liliana Bonfatti (Lucia), Renato Salvatori (Augusto Terenzi), Giorgio Bassani (il professore-narratore). Prod.: Astoria Film. 35mm. D.: 97’. Bn.
Emmer is the affectionate photographer of a new, petit-bourgeois generation that emerged from the war with enthusiasm. Step-by-step from the working class setting of Domenica d’agosto by way of Parigi è sempre Parigi, we follow moments of transition, captured fleetingly and with an apparently casual gaze. Here it is the entry into the adult world of three girls who work in Piazza di Spagna but hail from the working class districts of Rome: the popular housing of Donna Olimpia (also described by Pasolini), Garbatella, and the Roman countryside of Capannelle. It is a professor, played by Giorgio Bassani, who encounters them every day and thus observes them and narrates the events. This youth which he watches enter into adulthood is simultaneous a population that gradually becomes less poor, and the sensuousness of the gaze captures this transition like a storm that marks the end of summer, and is filled with delightful character actors like Ave Ninchi, Eduardo De Filippo and a young Mastroianni.
This world has a certain nobility of its own – it is the descendent of an ancient, fallen culture whose traces remain in certain walks of life – and Emmer would seem to be its most authentic narrator. By now he is even too good at showing us overcrowded working class apartments and little trucks full of families off to enjoy themselves. But once we have acknowledged a certain ease on his part, we must also recognise a true poetic talent in the representation of certain relationships, love affairs and arguments, the indiscreet confessions of youngsters who participate in the life and dramas of adults. And there is at least one scene with a powerful poetic charge, which perhaps summarises everything that Emmer wants to tell us. Here genuine, ordinary people with real virtues are depicted according to the sensitive tradition of generations of artists, and a portrait of a young woman emerges as if from the eternal feminine of Italian art. It is the scene in which a young man spies from his truck into the elegant dressmaker’s and sees a young girl dressed like a great lady suddenly transformed into a great lady.
Corrado Alvaro, “Il Mondo”,
1st March 1952