Europa Cinema > 15:30


Introduced by

Caterina d’Amico


Saturday 01/07/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

We know that it was the producers who suggested this semi-documentary episode on the distinctive Urbe district; they felt that in such a visionary film dominated by the past, international spectators enamoured with local colour would appreciate an episode set in modern, working-class Rome […]. Every year, the Trastevere district holds festivities with a significant name: the Festa de Noantri [Our Festival] […]. Fellini concludes the Trastevere episode with a very brief homage to the actress who, more than any other, embodies the city: Anna Magnani. The mythic heroine of Roma città aperta is entering her home, in Palazzo Altieri (although the scene is shot near there, in Piazzetta Mattei, close to the ghetto). The actress died two years later, in September 1973, and so this fleeting appearance became her slightly melancholic farewell to the cinema. “Anna… do you want to say anything about Rome? You are virtually its symbol… She-wolf and vestal virgin… What do you think you most resemble in this city?” A quick word. “Federico, go to bed…. I don’t trust you! Ciao! Goodnight!” She cuts him short and closes the door. No, Anna Magnani will definitely not be the one to disclose to Federico the secret of this city, which for nearly three thousand years has “refused to reveal itself”.

Aldo Tassone, Fellini 23½. Tutti i film, Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2020

Cast and Credits

Int.: Anna Magnani. DCP. D.: 1’ (excerpt). Col.

LA TRAVERSATA - Episodio di Made in Italy

Film Notes

While she was beginning to receive offers from Hollywood once more, following Mamma Roma and Autant-Lara’s Le Magot de Josefa, Anna Magnani played the role of one of the “monsters” in Nanni Loy’s film, which reprised the model pioneered by Dino Risi in I mostri, disguising it as an inquest into the habits and character flaws of the ordinary Italian during the Economic Miracle. Anna Magnani is the protagonist of the last of the 25 sketches and episodes which comprise the five sections of the film, again playing the role of mother, but this time with an ironic touch (her pliant and miserable husband is played by Andrea Cecchi). She is the one who supports and guides the family over the crossing which lends the episode its title, in other words, the pedestrian crossing in Piazza Pio XI in Rome where the incredible traffic makes even a weekend outing to buy one’s children an ice-cream a tricky and risky endeavour. Within the limitations posed by the short satirical sketch, Magnani again offers up a portrait of an amusing and exuberant ordinary woman. Moreover, she does not “forego the opportunity to embellish the screenplay with the occasional unexpected improvisation, such as when she swings her handbag at the bonnet of car whose driver made a vulgar comment at her elder daughter” (Matilde Hochkofler).

Alice Autelitano

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Nanni Loy, Ruggero Maccari, Ettore Scola. F.: Ennio Guarnieri. M. Ruggero Mastroianni. Scgf.: Luciano Spadoni. Mus.: Carlo Rustichelli. Int.: Anna Magnani (Adelina), Andrea Checchi (suo marito), Micaela Esdra (la figlia), Franco Balducci (l’automobilista), Antonio Casagrande (l’avvocato), Anita Durante (la suocera). Prod.: Gianni Hecht Lucari per Documento Film, Orsay Films. DCP. D.: 7’


Film Notes

Magnani and Totò constitute an inimitable, unrepeatable double act. They improvise in such a spontaneous and creative fashion that the tradition of the commedia dell’arte is resurrected.

Ben Gazzara, in L’avventurosa storia del cinema italiano. Da La dolce vita a C’era una volta il West, vol. 3, edited by Franca Faldini and Goffredo Fofi, Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2021

The last of the seven films starring Totò and directed by Monicelli. It is not very well known, and the filmmaker hardly ever mentions it in interviews. Yet it is one of the best films in his filmography, as well as that of Totò. Totò here jettisons farce and burlesque (in which, it is well known, his talents shone brightly) to immerse himself in a perfect example of the comedy of manners. It constitutes a specifically Italian and virtually sublime variant, balancing irony and a (never cloying) compassion for its characters. The filmmaker creates a superb portrait of Totò, with all his characteristic features intact: a firm moral sense that overrides the humiliations that befall him, a (completely anachronistic) sense of gallantry and respect for women, an almost physiological refusal to get angry, equanimity and resignation. The scene of Totò and Magnani’s cinema experience is a classic.

Jacques Lourcelles, Dictionnaire du cinéma, Laffont, Paris 1992

Risate di gioia is very accomplished in terms of its screenplay. The film less so, because of Magnani, even if it was constructed specifically for her. Unfortunately, it was made during a period of Magnani’s life when she had become obsessed with ageing, whereas previously she didn’t care how she was dressed, or from which angle she was shot […]. She insisted on wearing a beautiful blonde wig whereas the character should have been one of those peroxide blondes who provoke the reaction, “Oh my God, what have you done!” Monicelli has a strong personality, but he was never able to handle women very well. He wasn’t able to stand up to Magnani and this spoiled a film, which remains charming, but would have been irresistible if it had been made the way we intended, with an arrogant and insolent Magnani.

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

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalle novelle Le risate di gioia e Ladri in chiesa (1954) di Alberto Moravia. Scen.: Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Age e Scarpelli, Mario Monicelli. F.: Leonida Barboni. M.: Adriana Novelli. Scgf.: Piero Gherardi. Mus.: Lelio Luttazzi. Int.: Anna Magnani (Gioia Fabricotti detta Tortorella), Totò (Umberto Pennazzuto detto Infortunio), Ben Gazzara (Lello), Fred Clark (l’americano ubriacone), Edy Vessel (Milena), Mac Ronay (Alfredo). Prod.: Silvio Clementelli per Titanus. DCP. D.: 106’. Bn.