Arlecchino Cinema > 11:15


Luigi Comencini
Introduced by

Caterina d’Amico


Friday 30/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

This idea of the memoirs became an obsession of mine… While working alongside Comencini with little enthusiasm [on another project, Carlo Castellaneta’s Notti e nebbie], the final volume of the French edition of Casanova’s memoirs was published, I believe, and we could talk of nothing else because he was also passionate about this subject. So, we went to the producer Santalucia and said: “Listen, let us adapt this book and get someone else to do the other project.” This is how Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano was born.

Suso Cecchi d’Amico, in Scrivere il cinema, edited by Orio Caldiron and Matilde Hochkofler, Edizioni Dedalo, Bari 1988


In making Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano, I wanted to produce a costume film totally and exclusively dedicated to the practices and customs of the times. I could have paraphrased the title of a famous French series and called it “Everyday life during the period of Casanova’s youth”. It is a costume film that aspires to be the very opposite of the historical film, which talks, usually in a generic and conventional way, about the celebrated people and events that history has handed down to us. I did not want to recount the sexual problems of a young man or the erotic vocation of an adolescent; the “vocation” of the title was meant to be a religious one, while the “first experiences” referred to the encounter between a poor young man destined for an ecclesiastical career and the society of the time…
Why did I choose to focus on Casanova as a child and not as an adult? For the screenplay, Suso Cecchi d’Amico and I selected the first five chapters, which are very beautiful, of his Mémoirs; they describe young Giacomo Casanova’s life between the ages of eight and 18, in Venice, Padova and then Venice once more. These few pages recount how the young Casanova, who was poor, sickly and destined for an ecclesiastical career, became a perfect libertine in the course of a few short years. Casanova realised that in the society in which he lived, there was no other choice for an ordinary, impoverished man than that of the bedroom, for which he was well-equipped. The character’s transformation, his passage from childhood to adulthood and from a position on the margins to numerous gallant adventures, reveals the mechanisms of society, which we hoped the film would starkly illustrate.

Luigi Comencini, in Simon Mizrahi, La Vie quotidienne d’un jeun vénitien, nommé Casanova, “Magazine Littéraire”, n. 100, May 1975

Cast and Credits

Sog.: da Le memorie (1825) di Giacomo Casanova. Scen.: Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Luigi Comencini. F.: Ajace Parolin. M.: Nino Baragli. Scgf.: Piero Gherardi. Mus.: Fiorenzo Carpi. Int.: Leonard Whiting (Casanova), Claudio De Kunert (Casanova bambino), Maria Grazia Buccella (Zanetta), Senta Berger (Giulietta Cavamacchia, detta Mille scudi), Lionel Stander (Don Tosello), Tina Aumont (Marcella), Cristina Comencini (Angela), Mario Peron (padre di Casanova), Raoul Grassilli (Don Gozzi), Wilfrid Brambell (Malipiero). Prod.: Ugo Santalucia per Mega Film. 35mm. D.: 123’. Col.