Cinema Odeon > 15:30


Marco Ferreri


Saturday 29/08/2020


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Break Up is an invisible film, which few viewers got to see. Despite being the first encounter between Mastroianni and Ferreri and one of Mastroianni’s most extraordinary performances, it is one of the least known films of European postwar cinema. That was until this restoration and its presentation at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Leone d’Oro for best restoration.
Work on Break Up ended in December 1963. In January 1964 the film was ready, and it received the censor’s certificate, but Carlo Ponti decided to stop its release and transformed it into a 25-minute short as an episode of the film Oggi, domani, dopodomani, which included two other episodes directed by Luciano Salce and Eduardo De Filippo. In 1967, Ponti and Ferreri met up again, and Ferreri shot a new episode in colour. The film was complete, but after a short release in France and the United States it vanished. In 1979 Ferreri donated a black-and-white 16mm print to Lab80 in Bergamo for limited independent distribution.
For such a little-seen movie, it certainly has many names: L’uomo dei palloncini, L’uomo dei cinque palloni (L’Homme aux cinq ballons) and finally Break Up, which was probably Ponti’s invention after the success of Blow-up. Ponti sold the film to MGM, and later the rights were passed on to Warner Bros. where the interpositive was found (the negative has been lost).
Seeing the film today is an incredible experience: it anticipates the party scene in The Party, and Kim Basinger’s striptease in 9 1⁄2 Weeks, with a singer who looks like Belushi before Belushi ever appeared. It is a film in which we can admire Morandi’s paintings and listen to one of the most popular singers of that time, Orietta Berti. We can already see in it the Ferreri of abstraction, a non-ideological filmmaker, who creates paradoxical stories and reveals the contradiction of a consumer society. Break Up’s screenplay was written by Rafael Azcona, the screenwriter of all of Ferreri’s best films (El pisito, La donna scimmia, La Grande bouffe...).

Gian Luca Farinelli

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Marco Ferreri, Rafael Azcona. F.: Aldo Tonti. M.: Enzo Micarelli. Scgf.: Carlo Egidi. Mus.: Teo Usuelli. Int.: Marcello Mastroianni (Mario), Catherine Spaak (Giovanna), Ugo Tognazzi (automobilista), William Berger (Benny), Ennio Balbo, Marco Ferreri. Prod.: Carlo Ponti per Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Les Films Concordia. DCP 4K. Bn.