15 November 2017 | adrian-43767
Wonderful kaleidoscope vision of Italian society in the early 1960s
I MOSTRI is a masterly comment on the rot, dignity, suffering, forbidden pleasures, good and evil at the heart of society. It happens to be Italian society under the microscope, but it would easily apply to most societies. Some of its sketches are very thought-provoking, presenting different characters in different stations in life, but always with a cynical incisiveness and a sense of humor that keep the film firmly anchored to ground reality.
From a cinematic standpoint, I MOSTRI is blessed in various ways. Director Dino Risi, actors Gassman and Tognazzi, and writers Incrocci and Scarpelli are all in top form.
Black and white photography serves the film's biting commentary on society well, and Alfio Contini does a great job of filming, regardless of whether he is closing up on the actors' faces, shooting boxing bouts, or doing interiors or exteriors.
I MOSTRI goes on for two hours, which, in my long film lover's life, tends to be excessive, but in this case it held my attention throughout, even conceding that it could have done without a couple of the sketches, which are immediately forgettable.
"I due orfanelli", "Il Sacrificato," "La Nobile Arte," "Il Povere Soldato," "Vernissage" are all outstanding segments, with Gassman and Tognazzi unafraid to play despicable characters, and switch to noble ones. It is a pity that acting of this quality should go unrewarded, when one sees so much rubbish from much more famous and far better paid actors in other parts of the world.
Director Risi, just off his masterpiece, IL SORPASSO, the previous year (1962) is in the greatest form of his career. A well deserved 9/10.