Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original Title: I Girasoli
Italy/France, 1970. Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Les Films Concordia, Mosfilm, AVCO Embassy Pictures. Story and Screenplay by Tonino Guerra, Cesare Zavattini, in collaboration with Giorgi Mdivani. Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno. Produced by Arthur Cohn, Carlo Ponti. Music by Henry Mancini. Production Design by Piero Poletto. Costume Design by Enrico Sabbatini. Film Editing by Adriana Novelli. Academy Awards 1970.
Following the wonders of Yesterday Today and Tomorrow and Marriage Italian Style, the reunion of Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren with director Vittorio de Sica should provide for another classic, but this one doesn’t quite make it. It’s an awkward combination of humour and pathos as Loren reaches the end of World War II still unaware of whether or not her husband (Mastroianni) perished in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp. She awaits the news, remembering the early days of their romance, before deciding to travel across the continent in search of him herself. There are huge motions of romantic grandeur but then there is also the delightful comedy of their first steps as a couple; the two elements are not combined well, and it is hard to know if the movie is to be taken seriously or if it is an outright farce. If you’re a fan of either or both stars, however, you’ll at least want to give it a shot.