The Sea (1962)

  |  Drama

The Sea (1962) Poster

A well known actor comes to off-season Capri to unwind and meets a teenaged boy. The attraction is immediate and mutual but before their relationship can get off the ground, an alluring ... See full summary »


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3 May 2014 | ItalianGerry
"Il mare" re-visited
The program booklet for the 1963 New York Film Festival (first one ever) shows that "Il mare" was scheduled for one screening on September 17 at 6:30. The blurb made reference to the Venice Film Festival showing where the movie had been "greeted by one of those sessions of prolonged booing, hissing, and cat-calls that, at festivals, generally herald a masterpiece." Later the film received non-theatrical distribution in 16mm by Audio Brandon Films. I do not believe it was shown commercially anywhere in the U.S., though it may have had minor runs and was shown by film societies on college campuses and elsewhere before the prints were withdrawn from distribution. I first saw it in Providence in April 1980 when the local Italian American Cultural Society sponsored one showing at the Cable Car Cinema.

I recently saw it again on an unsubtitled DVD from a private source. What I remembered of the film, its stark atmosphere and the special beauty of off-season Capri, superbly photographed, still held true for me. Also holding true was the stunning pretentiousness and Antoniennui (to borrow Andrew Sarris' clever coinage)of the whole piece, like a directorial wet-dream inspired by the island sequences of "L'Avventura." It has fine photogenic actors speaking some impossible dialog. It is a synthesis and time-capsule and reductio-ad-absurdum of early 1960s art house cinema, beautiful yet unbearable, requiring multiple cups of the free espresso the art cinemas of that epoch used to supply their patrons to kick-start them back into the world of the living.

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Did You Know?


Plot Summary




Release Date:

16 September 1964



Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Capri, Italy

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