Sog.: Vitaliano Brancati, Augusto Genina, (il terzo episodio è basato su una storia di Sandro De Feo e Ivo Perilli). Scen.: Augusto Genina, Vitaliano Brancati, Sandro De Feo, Mino Maccari, Ercole Patti, Ivo Perilli. F.: G.R. Aldo. M.: Giancarlo Cappelli. Scgf.: Franco Fontana. Mus.: Antonio Veretti. Int.: Lia Amanda (Renata Marzocchi), Antonella Lualdi (Anna Maria), Eleonora Rossi Drago (Gianna Aragona), Edda Soligo (infermiera), Isa Pola (signora Paola), Isa Querio (Maddalena), Marcella Rovena (madre di Gianna), Bruno Vecchio (padre di Renata), Mariolina Bovo (Mimma), Gino Cervi (professor Aragona). Prod.: Renato Bassoli per Electra Film. 35mm. D.: 113’. Bn.
Tre storie proibite was inspired by the same case described in Giuseppe De Santis’ Roma ore 11 – the collapse of a staircase which caused the deaths of several young women applying for a typing job. The different conclusions that the two directors draw from the events are revealing. De Santis sent Elio Petri out to conduct a reportage, which was then only partially used, interpreted by a cast of stars on a set recreated in the studio. Genina, on the other hand, claims that he also carried out an investigation only to discard the results: “Without this investigation I could not have made the film, but the dramas surrounding these girls, however tragic, were, as it were, already well known. So the first story, which Brancati suggested to me, the one about the girl who was molested, was inspired by a novella by Maupassant and brought up to date through the use of a psychoanalytic perspective. In the second story, only the beginning was based on fact. The theme of the third, in its original version, was drawn from a story by Proust, but the censors forced me to change it considerably”.
Of the three episodes, one is virtually unclassifiable, a delicate balancing act between drama and farce. It is the story of a woman who ends up married to a rich but superficial man, a lover of jokes and a keen radio ham (a figure who seen today displays overtly queer traits). However, in the other two (a woman molested as a child and a female drug addict dominated by her dealer) we are in the midst of bourgeois drama. The original news story provides the pretext for what is perhaps the only ‘Freudian’ drama of the period, entirely centred around trauma, dissatisfaction and dependency (and the resulting film would have been even clearer had the final episode not been rewritten). But this emphasis on psychology is immediately transformed into a naturalistic plot with a taste for the bizarre and the pathological. In the middle episodes this gives rise to a grotesque comedy that takes place in a “modern Rome, that could equally be Berlin”. Above all it displays a taste for an unhealthy eroticism that constitutes one of the most evident stylistic traits of the director, as Alberto Moravia noted at the time: “The most marked feature of his art is an emphasis on sensuality, as is also clear from this film. A somewhat pungent sensuality in the first episode […] and a warmer, more relaxed one in the remaining two”.
Emiliano Morreale, Così piangevano, Donzelli, Roma 2011