Monday, June 9, 2008

Dino Risi has died

When we think of the heyday of Italian cinema, we think of Fellini, Antonioni, Rossellini, Pasolini (lots of -inis). But the commedia all'italiana is being increasingly appreciated for its merits, not as mere entertainment, but as a prophetic reflection of Italian society. In this, directors such as Dino Risi (who has just died) along with Germi, Monicelli and Lattuada, are seen as having understood before their time the "monstrous" nature of contemporary Italy.
Here is a scene from Dino Risi's I Mostri, in which a well-heeled couple watches a Nazi firing squad execute a group of civilians. The only survivor is a small child, who naturally wails in despair. The husband turns to the wife: "you see that wall there- I'd like one just like that for our villa..."