Piazza Maggiore > 21:45


Introduced by

Vincenzo Mollica

La riffa – Episodio di Boccaccio ’70
R.: Vittorio De Sica. D.: 50’. V. italiana

Mara – Episodio di Ieri, oggi, domani
(Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Italia-Francia/1963)
R.: Vittorio De Sica. D.: 45’. V. italiana

(In case of rain, the screening will take place at Lumière Cinema, instead)


Thursday 07/07/2022


Original version with subtitles

LA RIFFA Episodio di Boccaccio ‘70

Film Notes

La riffa is the fourth episode in a film whose overall structure was conceived by Cesare Zavattini. Initially the plan was for ten stories in the style of Boccaccio – that is to say playful, free, and typically Italian – to be entrusted to ten directors and set in ten different cities. Then, the number of directors was reduced to four: Monicelli (Renzo e Luciana), Fellini (Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio), Visconti (Il lavoro) and De Sica… After the feat of La ciociara, De Sica again paired up with Sophia Loren, whose explosive physicality, accentuated by the red dress she wears throughout, is celebrated by Otello Martelli’s cinematography. Zoe (Loren) works at a fairground target practice stall. To help two impoverished colleagues, she decides to offer herself as the first prize in a lottery, agreeing to spend the night with the owner of the winning ticket…
With exuberant women and brutish, desiring men, Zavattini’s screenplay depicts a setting that is jovial, magical and paradoxical. It draws a connection (but also a dissonance) between the sacred and the profane and between natural impulses and society’s rules. All these elements are immersed in a festive and vulgar Romagna, specifically the agricultural town of Lugo, with a cattle market teeming with tradesmen, fishermen, peasants, ploughmen and brokers already affected by the fever of the economic miracle…
The alternation between contradictory terms is echoed by the protagonist’s verbal oscillations between a Neapolitan accent and northern inflections (topped off with a drawl that can only have been suggested by De Sica). Linguistically, too, Zoe is precariously ba anced between a pre-industrial past and a present in which economic security is everything.

Gualtiero De Santi, Vittorio De Sica, Il Castoro, Milan 2003

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Cesare Zavattini. F.: Otello Martelli. M.: Adriana Novelli. Scgf.: Elio Costanzi. Mus.: Armando Trovajoli. Int.: Sophia Loren (Zoe), Luigi Giuliani (Gaetano), Alfio Vita (Cuspet). Prod.: Carlo Ponti, Antonio Cervi per Concordia Cinematografica, Cineriz, Francinex, Gray-Film. DCP. D.: 50’. Col.


Film Notes

Three episodes, three cities (Naples, Milan, Rome), the second phase of the Loren-Mastroianni double-act after their comedies together in the 1950s. At the helm of Carlo Ponti’s project is the ex-Neorealist duo of De Sica-Zavattini (joined by the pen of Eduardo De Filippo for one episode). An international triumph and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and not without reason. As Vittorio Spinazzola writes, Loren’s films of the early 1960s are: “perfect examples of the Hollywood style… De Sica’s skill has been to identify a character, or better a personality, which possesses an unequivocally local flavour that perfectly suits Loren’s precise but limited abilities and temperament and is blessed with a vividly eloquent moral. At first glance, the portrayal is not that different from the young Neapolitan girl sketched out in L’oro di Napoli and reprised by numerous ‘pink neorealist’ films. But in these new films, De Sica pushes the contrast between the exuberant irreverence of her common manners and the fundamental goodness they conceal: beneath a trashy exterior beats a proud and generous heart. Rather than suffering as result, the character becomes more distinct and resilient, so that she can now lend herself to both dramatic and comic registers. The only thing that matters is that the more daring the situations and objectionable her behaviour, the more the innate integrity of her conscience is revealed” (Cinema e pubblico, Bompiani, Milano 1974).

Emiliano Morreale

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Eduardo De Filippo (Adelina), dal racconto Troppo ricca di Alberto Moravia (Anna), Cesare Zavattini (Mara). Scen.: Eduardo De Filippo, Cesare Zavattini, Billa Billa, Cesare Zavattini. F.: Giuseppe Rotunno. M.: Adriana Novelli. Scgf.: Ezio Frigerio. Mus.: Armando Trovajoli. Int.: Sophia Loren (Adelina Sbaratti/Anna Molteni/Mara), Marcello Mastroianni (Carmine Mellino/Renzo/ Augusto Rusconi), Aldo Giuffrè (Pasquale Bardella), Armando Trovajoli (Giorgio Ferrario), Giovanni Ridolfi (Umberto), Lino Mattera (Amedeo Scapace), Tina Pica (nonna di Umberto), Agostino Salvietti (Domenico Verace), Gennaro Di Gregorio (nonno di Umberto), Tecla Scarano (Bianchina Verace), Carlo Croccolo (imbonitore). Prod.: Carlo Ponti per Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Les Films Concordia. DCP. D.: 114’. Col.