Friday, September 26, 2014

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow




Directed by Vittorio De Sica, Leri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow) is a trilogy of stories involving three couples in three different parts of Italy where a woman uses her sexuality to get her husband/beau to do whatever she wants. The three stories display different ideas of love in three different places of the country as it’s told in a humorous fashion as the three couples are played by Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. Leri, oggi, domani is an extraordinary film from Vittorio De Sica.

The film is about three different stories in three different locations that all revolve around a woman who would use her sexuality to get what she wants as it would often cause trouble for her husband/beau in these stories. The first of which is entitled Adelina de Naples which is written by Eduardo de Filippo and Isabella Quarantotti that has a woman who finds a loophole by getting pregnant so she can avoid going to jail for selling cigarettes in the black market which eventually takes its toll on her marriage. The second story entitled Anna of Milan from writers Cesare Zavattini and Billa Billa Zanuso plays into a day in Milan where a wealthy of wife of an industrialist drives around her Rolls Royce with her lover as they deal with what is important. The third and final story entitled Mara of Rome that is based on a story by Alberto Moravia and screenplay by Cesare Zavattini revolves around a prostitute’s relationship with one of her clients as she tries to help out an elderly neighbor’s grandson who is thinking about giving up his priesthood studies.

The scripts all play to themes of a woman trying to get her man to do what he wants where the first story has the husband Carmine trying to save his wife as he is unemployed yet having sex with Adelina eventually tires him. In the second story, it is a short but comical story that plays into a man trying to get this rich wife of an industrialist to have a relationship but she is a woman that is very vain and selfish. The third and final story plays around the life of a prostitute who has very high-priced clients including a son of an industrialist who is eager to marry this woman but she isn’t sure as she has other problems to deal with. All of which have similarities about the way women use their sexuality where it can be an advantage or a curse.

Vittorio De Sica’s direction is very intoxicating in the way he tells these three different stories where it does play into the different parts of Italy not just socially but also culturally. In Adelina, it is all set in Naples where it’s the longest section of the three stories as De Sica aims for some realism in its locations where it’s shot largely in these stair-like streets where it is quite cramped but also full of life. De Sica’s approach to the widescreen format to capture the location is among the highlights of the section while some of it is quite comical in the way Adelina deals with her plight and Carmine trying to help her as it would overwhelm him. The Anna segment is the shortest of the three where it begins with a long running shot of Anna driving her Rolls Royce from her perspective as she drives manically to reach her love Renzo.

It’s the funniest of the three shorts but also very compelling for the way it plays into Anna’s own vanity. The third and final segment in Mara has De Sica be more intimate in not just his compositions but also in the way he presents Rome by avoiding many of its landmarks. Instead, it’s a more somber piece where De Sica plays into a prostitute trying to help a family while dealing with a client who is in love with her as it culminates a striptease for the client. All of which plays into something is purely Italian in how men and women conduct their lives. Overall, De Sica crafts a very sensational yet captivating film about women who uses their sex appeal to get men to do whatever they want.

Cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno does amazing work with the film‘s cinematography to capture not just the beauty of the different locations but also bring in some unique lighting for the Adelina and Mara segments in some of its nighttime scenes. Editor Adriana Novelli does excellent work with the editing by bringing in a very straightforward approach to the editing with some jump-cuts and dissolves in a few scenes for all three segments. Art director Ezio Frigerio and set decorator Ezio Altieri do fantastic work with the set pieces from the home that Adelina and Carmine live in with their children to the apartment that Mara lives in on top of the building where her next door neighbor is an elderly couple and their grandson.

The costumes of Piero Tosi is terrific for its sense of style from the ragged dresses of Adelina as well as the stylish clothes of Mara plus the Christian Dior dress that Anna wears. The sound work of Ennio Sensi is superb for some of the chaotic yet layered sound for some of the scenes involving the crowd in the Adelina segment with more intimate sound work in the other two segments. The film’s music by Armando Trovajoli is brilliant where it features different themes that are quite playful and somber as it features some orchestral pieces and ballads that are featured in the Adelina segment while the Anna segment features mostly jazz and the Mara segment consists of more somber orchestral pieces.

The film’s cast features some notable small roles from composer Armando Trovajoli as a man Anna and Renzo meet on the road, Agostino Salvietti as an attorney for Adeline and Carmine, Tecla Scarano as the attorney’s sister, Tina Pica and Gennaro Di Gregorio as Mara’s elderly neighbors, Aldo Giuffre as a friend of Carmine who tries to sleep with Adeline out of desperation, and Gianni Ridolfi as the neighbors grandson who falls for Mara as he wants to renounce his vows to be with her. Finally, there’s the duo of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in incredible performances as the three couples in the film. Loren brings a smoldering sexuality to her trio of roles while making them very different as Adelina is a woman trying to not to go to jail which shows Loren at her most dramatic. In the role of Anna, Loren brings a very intoxicating yet vain approach to her character while she brings a great complexity as Mara as a woman with a big heart despite her profession.

Mastroianni brings a lot of humor and humility in his trio of roles where he displays an earnestness in the role of Carmine. In the role of Renzo, he plays someone who is confused but also troubled by Anna’s decisions while he showcases a more comical and neurotic approach in the role of Augusto in his attempt to sleep with Mara. There is a chemistry between Loren and Mastroianni that is just insatiable to watch where they know how to play off each other and have fun doing it.

Leri, oggi, domani is a phenomenal film from Vittorio De Sica that features great performances from Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. The film isn’t just a humorous look into the world of women making men do whatever they want but also as a compelling portrait of Italy. In the end, Leri, oggi, domani is a spectacular film from Vittorio De Sica.

Vittorio De Sica Films: (Rose scarlatte) - (Maddalena, zero in condotta) - (Teresa Venerdi) - (Un garibaldino al convento) - (The Children Are Watching Us) - (La porta del cielo) - (Shoeshine) - (Heart and Soul (1948 film)) - Bicycle Thieves - (Miracle in Milan) - (Umberto D.) - (It Happened in the Park) - (Terminal Station) - (The Gold of Naples) - (The Roof) - (Anna of Brooklyn) - Two Women (1960 film) - (The Last Judgment) - (Boccaccio ‘70) - (The Condemned of Altona) - (Il Boom) - (Marriage Italian-Style) - (Un monde nouveau) - (After the Fox) - (Woman Times Seven) - (Le streghe) - (A Place for Lovers) - (Sunflowers (1970 film)) - (The Garden of Finzi-Continis) - (Lo chiameremo Andrea) - (A Brief Vacation) - (The Voyage)

© thevoid99 2014

2 comments:

Fisti said...

Marcelo is astonishing in this. I really liked this film, even if I didn't think it was as strong as a whole as it was in parts (I preferred the second part to everything else), but overall I liked this a lot and loved what Marcelo did with the character. He's so full of life!

thevoid99 said...

Mastroianni is just amazing where he exudes coolness but has the ability to be extremely funny. I miss him.