5 January 2020 | dbdumonteil
Slices of life and life only.
Second series of sketches released under the title "tempi nostri" (our time) ;half French actors,half Italian ones, all the segments are enjoyable ,some even highly estimable .They are linked by a pantomime featuring Marcel Marceau .
Segment one: "a kiss is just a kiss" :François Périer ,Dany Robin ;very short ,half silent , it's more a taste of the things to come :is a man (a woman) really passionate when he(she) kisses ;or does he think that he needs a haircut ;and does she think that her hose has a run in them?
Segment two: " playing hooky" :Yves Montand, Danielle Delorme .
A schoolteacher ,full of joie de vivre ,meets a lost girl down in the dumps :she starts to enjoy life again,thanks to small things: a modest meal in a cafe, an evening in a movie theater showing a Chaplin film ,morning croissants .An exquisite slice of life:romantic but not mawkish.
Segment three : "it's a wonderful life" :Michel Simon, Sylvie .
Two monstres sacrés of the French cinema ,for our greatest pleasure.
Simon portrays a colorful stubborn vicar ; Sylvie is a washerwoman whose life has been drab and poor:washing ,a frugal meal (bread dipped in olive oil) ,washing again with for sole companion a she-goat .She's got something sineful to tell her priest,but cannot bring herself to confession .Wonderful story,with a Capraesque denouement at that!
Segment four : "ticket to ride" :Vittorio De Sica,Maria Fiore .
First sketch of the batch featuring Italian thespians : De Sica is a bus driver who wants to marry his protégé to a dull Michele (we never see) ; after a wild ride through the streets of Napoli , with American tourists (all female) ,he discovers what he 's known for a long time ; pleasant, eventful , but a bit conventional .
Segment five : "somebody's baby" :Marcello Mastroianni,Lea Padovani
Another mouth to feed ;one child too many ; the young couple decides to abandon their baby in a church ,but not any church :mamma wants to like it and daddy remains passive; both still love their boy, mom even tries to breast- feed him....in this sacred place, to the local vicar's displeasure .A good parody of the old melodramas, laughing at their clichés, it ends as a farce .
Segment six: "grow old along with me,the best is yet to be" :Vittorio De Sica,Maria Denis,Alberto Sordi,Sophia Loren.
By far the best of the two segments in which De Sica appears : two has-beens are hired as extras in a film ,they met when they were young but were never be able to take the plunge :they were never lovers.
Now they are getting old (60, 53 going on 54) ,and while the camera films the stars who have to repeat their lines till the director is satisfied,they have to go round and round in a barouche ;their conversation is interrupted by the "cut" yelled by the director.The viewer realizes that the principals are actually the extras , and vice versa ;probably the best segment ,because it deals with the seventh art and is a reductio ad aburdum that it will never be stronger than life.A brilliant finale for what is finally an optimistic series of stories.