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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:58 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
This is a really impressive film and I urge everybody who's been avoiding it (which, by the looks of this thread, is everybody) to pick it up or dig it out of their kevyip. It's a virtuoso chamber piece with wonderfully fluid camerawork that glides and floats all around a magnificent early modernist apartment block. The political punchline is inevitable and unsurprising, but Mastroianni and Loren take a smartly written script and get everything they can out of it. A radically deglamourized Loren is particularly impressive as a careworn housewife (but she's still Sophia Loren.) This and Here Is Your Life were sparks of inspiration in Criterion's generally ordinary 2015 slate.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:30 am 
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zedz wrote:
...with wonderfully fluid camerawork that glides and floats all around a magnificent early modernist apartment block....


That distinctive apartment block, Il Palazzo Federici @ Viale Ventuno Aprile in Roma, detailed here...


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:04 am 

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Location: journeys-italy.blogspot.com
Quote:
apparently this is what A Special Day looked like theatrically in 1977 apparently this is what A Special Day looked like theatrically in 1977
Yes, the theatrical prints in 1977 already had this "faded" look.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:50 pm 
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Enjoyed this a lot, especially in its quiet futility. Like the bird's escape which brings Loren's housewife into Mastroianni's life, the film captures a fleeting encounter that briefly brings a spark to a dead life, only here there is no happy ending or change, just sadness at knowing a new world outside of the insular one the housewife is stuck inside (Mastroianni has the advantage here, of course, of knowing his fate and seeing this encounter as a last minute gift rather than a promise of future or continued happiness).


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am
Cliché or not, the pseudo-sepia here is just gorgeous, especially for silverware and red hues.

The dramatic scenario is ingenious -- simple, yet rich with possibilities. I liked the way the building was almost a character in its own right.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:05 am 
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It's great to see Loren and Mastroianni play unglamorous, working class types. They are characters I feel like I know in real life, especially growing up with many Italian Americans who freshly emigrated here in my early life, even the awful husband (surprised to see John Vernon in this role).

Pretty scary how Hitler was treated like a rock star by the Italians. But it is a great piece of history on celluloid.

I like Cavett but I think those were two shows that were not his best. His comments to Mastroianni on how he played a gay man was terribly stereotypical. And when he asked Loren if her children were scared as they were trying to escape a fire. Ugh.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai
A very interesting bittersweet film. It's the day in 1938 that Hitler comes to Italy to cement his partnership with Mussolini. Everyone goes to the big fascist parade, except Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni and a busybody concierge. In a hulking apartment complex they meet by accident, and it becomes a special day for them as well. There's one more layer to the title, which refers to the ending.

It's a low key film. Loren is a beaten-down housewife with a half-dozen kids and a loutish husband. Mastroianni is a type of nonconformist under threat from the fascist regime. The whole film takes place in a giant apartment complex, with the fascist parade echoing in the air -- they are like the 3rd and 4th characters after everybody clears out.

It's a smart, sensitive film, with some nice small touches of humor (the 6th child unexpectedly under the sheets of the parents bed, the husband drying his hands on his wife's dress and her reply, etc).
I liked how we start off following Loren and she seems put-upon and having a tough go of things, and only gradually do we realize that MM in fact has it significantly worse. It also makes it clear that fascism has an ugly side without any of the characters being opposed to it. Loren's housewife is caught up in the fascist wave -- and I liked how that showed that she had an artistic side buried beneath her drudgery -- while MM simply says that he isn't anti-fascist, but fascism is anti-him.
________________________________________________________________________
As for the extras, agree that that wasn't very good Cavett. About 52 minutes worth could have been edited down to about 15. Not only does Cavett ask some dopey questions -- at one point Sophia Loren hesitates and says she doesn't know where he's going with a vague non-question. Also, it seemed Mastroianni wanted to tell some stories and have some laughs, and Cavett barely gives him any time to do so. Cavett wastes a lot of time repeatedly commenting on Loren's beauty, while she is smart and willing to give thoughtful answers and opinions, but isn't given much space to do so. Cavett also keeps interjecting so we get very little Loren-Mastroianni banter which also seemed promising but was thwarted. Also, almost all of his prepared material (MM's Rex Reed interview quotes and Loren's fire escape) fell completely flat. It was a new show for Cavett and maybe they needed to work the bugs out. No idea why they didn't edit it down to one half hour show instead of presenting it as 2 shows weeks apart. Hopefully they later hired a timekeeper or put a clock in sight behind the camera.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:32 pm 
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Location: East of Shanghai
FrauBlucher wrote:
Pretty scary how Hitler was treated like a rock star by the Italians. But it is a great piece of history on celluloid.

Just wait until Trump goes to Russia.

Or visits Hungary . . .


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:50 pm 
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I thought this was absolutely the amazing film everyone is calling it, but there's one thing that sticks out as difficult for me.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
This is one of the best and most mature treatments of a gay character I've seen in mainstream film even compared to a lot of modern cinema. That made the sex scene all the more surprising and hard to read. I assume by Loren's enthusiasm and Mastroiani's depressed death mask that at best he is taking pity on her and possibly it being a kind of rape. That's hard to deal with in the sense of this being a film aware of its stars, but that also might be the point. Scola and the actors so effectively deal with both points of view and sympathize with both that it is hard to read this as criticism of Loren, but it also seems absurd to back down from Mastroiani's homosexuality. Both possibilities are deeply uncomfortable and ambiguous in a way that leaves me indecisive.
I also have to say the opening ten minutes is impressive just for the willingness to run with that sort of context building.


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