Five short stories loosely dealing with the roles of women in society. A superstar actress travels to a mountain resort, evoking jealousy in women and lust in men; a woman offers to take an injured man to the hospital; a widower father and son search for a new wife and mother; a man seeks revenge for a woman's honor; a bored homemaker tries to explain to her husband that he's not as romantic as he used to be. —Samovarkov
"Oh my darling Absurdity!" - Not much of a film; Mangano's watchable.
This portmanteau film, comprised of 5 short efforts by noted Italian directors, is decidedly unsuccessful. The best 2 are Luchino Visconti's "The Witch Burned Alive" and "An Evening Like The Others" by Vittorio De Sica, and those are far from excellent, but are quite effective. The whole thing is dated in quite a negative way, although some of the visuals and music is impressive, particularly that tune in the first segment that Mangano dances to. What perplexes is the general lack of film-making invention in any of them - any surrealism is mild and far from interesting. Pasolini's piece is pretty objectionable and bizarre, yet with seemingly no reason to it, with two frankly farcical characters indulging in dull, insubstantial activities. It's just irritating and has no reason to its stilted madness. The "Sicilian Belle" "piece" is just inconsequential, worse even than the fairly tenuous "Civic Spirit". What this odd but tedious collection of films do all display is an attempt at style-over-substance modish cinema. The whole thing seems very half-hearted really, with few directorial or writing touches evident. The de Sica piece however, has quite a good use of fantasy sequences, using the sensuous Silvana Mangano to the full. In its favour it can be said to have style - at least in the de Sica and Visconti pieces - and a rather effective array of hair stylings for Mangano, who appeals in all of the pieces. Mangano makes no impression in the middle 3 segments, perhaps as she's a mute "Absurdity" in Pasolini's, and is a mere catalyst in the other 2. She's good enough in the bookending pieces though, creating some character, unlike any other performers. Clint Eastwood is pretty anonymous really, but the last piece does flow well, with inventive, sometimes bizarre sequences of Silvana Mangano's fantasies. Overall, a disappointment, but with compensations. Beware the Pasolini segment...! Rating:- ** 1/2/*****
- Apr 14, 2001
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