Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: La Cina e Vicina
Italy, 1967. Vides Cinematografica. Story by Marco Bellocchio, Screenplay by Elda Tattoli, Marco Bellocchio. Cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli. Produced by Franco Cristaldi. Music by Ennio Morricone. Production Design by Ugo Novello. Film Editing by Roberto Perpignani.
A political comedy/drama that has lost none of its energy or vitality in the years since it was made. Marco Bellocchio provides a rich satire on Italian society that focuses on an aristocratic professor who lives in his giant villa with his younger, socially conscious brother and his temperamental sister. Within their ranks, a secretary and a bookkeeper are lovers who plan to exploit these three for all they are worth, she seducing the professor during his campaign to win municipal office as a Socialist party candidate, he climbing into the bed of the sister who uses her class to rise above the prudish expectations of Italian Catholic society, enjoying as many men as she pleases while rejecting the idea of marrying anyone socially inferior to her. The desires of all are jumbled together for a terrific, smart, smoothly edited farce that shows that two major human principles, sex and politics, can rarely be separated, the one always undercutting the other and never in any particular order. Gorgeously shot and perfectly acted, with an especially memorable performance by co-screenwriter Elda Tattoli as the female lead.
Venice Film Festival Award: Special Jury Prize