The Witches (Le streghe) (1967)

MAURO BOLOGNINI, VITTORIO DE SICA, PIER PAOLO PASOLINI, FRANCO ROSSI, LUCHINO VISCONTI

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  /, 1967.  , .  Story and screenplay “La Strega Bruciata Viva” by , collaboration with , Story and screenplay “Senso Civico” and “La Siciliana” by , , , Story and screenplay “La Terra Vista Dalla Luna” by , Story and screenplay “Una Sera Come Le Altre” by Cesare Zavattini, collaboration with , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , , , .

Silvana Mangano in The Witches

The popularity of Boccaccio ’70 flooded the Italian market with omnibus films, from the Oscar winning Yesterday Today and Tomorrow to the English-language Woman Times Seven (both by Vittorio De Sica, incidentally), so it’s no surprise that Dino de Laurentiis commissioned one in which his wife Silvana Mangano would star (and he hires De Sica here too). The great actress does a fine job in five shorts directed by a host of notable filmmakers, all of which feature her challenging the roles that women are forced to fit themselves in to by a patriarchal society. The first is the best, Luchino Visconti directing her as a film star who arrives at a ski chalet surrounded by the glacial barriers that come with being a celebrity in public, looking perfect and being protected by her entourage. When she is taken ill during a party, the guests can’t get enough of taken her apart, piece by piece. In the second short, Mauro Bolognini directs Mangano and  in a silly jaunt about a woman whose rush to get to an appointment is interrupted by a car accident, prompting her to offer an injured man a ride to the hospital in order to move things along. Following that is Pasolini’s anemic short about a man and his son who look for an ideal woman to replace their dead mother/wife, then comes Franco Rossi’s spoof on Sicilian blood vendetta films. The final piece is by de Sica, a paltry effort in which she plays a bored housewife (to a dubbed , whose salary for this film was a brand new Ferrari) who escapes into some pretty funky fantasies to deal with the fact that her husband is no longer a passionate lover. They’re all made with the crafty wink that most sixties Italian sex comedies featured before the following decades would turn them into excuses for exploitation, but despite the efforts by the highly versatile lead, this one falls flat and the overall experience is tiresome.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s