Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Italy, 1962. Incei Film, Sancro Film, Fair Film. Story and Screenplay by Dino Risi, Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari, dialogue by Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari. Cinematography by Alfio Contini. Produced by Mario Cecchi Gori. Music by Riz Ortolani. Production Design by Ugo Pericoli. Costume Design by Ugo Pericoli. Film Editing by Maurizio Lucidi.
Vittorio Gassman plays a braggart on the move who pauses his roadster next to the apartment building of a shy law student (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and asks if he can use his phone. Immediately taking a liking to the timid young man, Gassman convinces Trintignant to join him as he hits the barren roads of Rome in August, his horny swagger at odds with the city’s stillness during the hot summer holiday. They visit Trintignant’s aunt and uncle, they stop at a cafe, they stay out for dinner and dancing with work colleagues and have a late night with estranged members of Gassman’s family, their adventures lasting two days and the whole thing moving to the perpetual pulse of a vehicle as revved up as its driver. Trintignant eventually is won over by his friend’s runaway energy in this fascinating precursor to Y To Mama Tambien, the constant noise of the annoying car horn and Gassman’s ceaseless gabbing convincing him that he too can be a bold alpha male in a world that has been holding him back for so long. The result is not what is expected, but rather the resulto f toxic machismo seeking to engulf everything around it being unleashed on the world, leaving only destruction in its wake and bringing punishment to its observers and not to the abuser himself. All this mayhem plus an unccurrent of homoeroticism typical of constant macho obsession makes for a film that on the surface is a road movie adventure but underneath is something so much more disturbing and fascinating.