Sunday, June 25, 2017

Domenica d'agosto / A Sunday in August

Domenica d'agosto. Anna Baldini (Marcella), Franco Interlenghi (Enrico).

Domenica d'agosto. Anna Medici (Rosetta the maid), Marcello Mastroianni (the traffic policeman Ercole Nardi).

Elokuinen sunnuntai / En söndag i augusti. Director: Luciano Emmer. Year: 1950. Country: Italia. A Sunday in Bologna.
    Sog.: Sergio Amidei. Scen.: Franco Brusati, Luciano Emmer, Giulio Macchi, Cesare Zavattini. F.: Domenico Scala, Leonida Barboni, Ubaldo Marelli. M.: Jolanda Benvenuti. Mus.: Roman Vlad. Int.: Anna Baldini (Marcella Meloni), Vera Carmi (Adriana), Emilio Cigoli (Alberto Mantovani), Andrea Compagnoni (Meloni), Anna Di Leo (Iolanda), Franco Interlenghi (Enrico), Marcello Mastroianni (Ercole Nardi), Mario Vitale (Renato), Massimo Serato (Roberto). Prod.: Sergio Amidei per Colonna Film 35mm. D.: 80’. Bn
    From: Cineteca Nazionale / Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.
    Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna.
    A 35 mm print with e-subtitles in English by Sub-Ti, Cinema Jolly, 26 June 2017.

Alexander Payne and Neil McGlone (Il Cinema Ritrovato): "Following a series of short films and art documentaries made with Enrico Gras between 1938 to 1948, Domenica d’agosto marked Emmer’s first foray into the features that would dominate his prolific output during the 1950s."

"By 1949, at a time when the Italian neorealist movement was still very popular overseas, screenwriter Sergio Amidei managed to raise the finances to produce and co-write a feature that Emmer would direct. The simple, loose premise of the film is contained in the title itself – a Sunday in August. Emmer envisioned neither an omnibus film of different episodes nor a documentary, but, as he said, “a dramatic story of that particular day and those people whose lives suddenly became entangled by fate or coincidence”. He said he wanted the film to be “as sincere and unpretentious as possible” and for it to begin with “a minimal scenario which was later enriched as the work progressed by the inclusion of facts or characters that gradually presented themselves”. The screenplay was completed in just two weeks with contributions from Emmer, Amidei, Franco Brusati, Giulio Macchi, and the great Cesare Zavattini."

"Domenica d’agosto is a marvelous film interweaving five stories of characters fleeing Rome on a sweltering summer Sunday to seek refuge at the beach at Ostia – a girl with her family, a traffic policeman and his girlfriend, a boy and his friends, a young man and his ex-girlfriend, a widower and his young daughter. While the film is undoubtedly a precursor to the popular commedia all’italiana, its aesthetic remains firmly within neorealism and documentary. The film was shot entirely on location, and there was an extensive casting process of non-professional and little-known actors to keep the narrative focus squarely on the lives of ordinary people. However, the film has often been termed as neorealismo rosa (pink neorealism), a short-lived sub-genre in which Italian films offered a lighter tone more in keeping with the improving conditions of the country."

"The cast includes Mario Vitale, Ingrid Bergman’s husband in Stromboli; Franco Interlenghi from Sciuscià; Massimo Serato, who was briefly married to Anna Magnani; Emilio Cigoli from I bambini ci guardano; and an early appearance by Marcello Mastroianni, still not far along enough in his career to have the right to his own voice – he was dubbed by Alberto Sordi."
Alexander Payne and Neil McGlone (Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Wikipedia: "Domenica 7 agosto festa di San Gaetano. Dall'accaldata città di Roma una folla variegata, di ogni estrazione sociale, si muove con mezzi diversi verso il lido di Ostia, per trascorrervi l'intera giornata festiva."

AA: A wonderful film, valuable in the development of the Italian cinema, and also belonging to an international current of holiday films, including works such as Lonesome by Paul Fejos and Treno popolare by Raffaello Matarazzo.

In his first feature film Luciano Emmer benefits from his experience as a documentarist. The neorealist urge is still spontaneous. As a multi-character study Dominica d'agosto is far from even and rigorous but somehow that seems beside the point. From the beginning the movie is full of life in scenes of an overcrowded family car, trains bursting with people, and long queues to the beach paradise of Ostia. This feeling of a joy of life is the very substance of the film.

At the same time the film is frank about social conditions: the modest circumstances of the Meloni family, the pregnant maid who is fired, the policeman living in barracks, Luciana's impressive boyfriend in a fancy car who turns out to work for a procurer of women for a wealthy family, the old relative at the retirement home ("the state I'm in after years of hard work"), the unemployed Roberto participating in armed robbery to be eligible to Luciana.

We visit all walks of life, from the aristocracy to the unemployed and the down and out. There is even a meta aspect: a film producer also on a beach holiday is bursting with ideas. Everything that he sees seems to turn into possible film projects.

Some vignettes are haunting due to the fact that they remain underdeveloped. A single father comes to the beach to leave his little daughter for a while to a children's boarding home to spend some time with his new lady friend who does not like children. He meets a single mother leaving her child to the home, as well (see the second image from above). They meet briefly, and nothing happens between then, but after the encounter the single father does nothing to prevent his lady friend from drifting into the company of a Neapolitan rival, and at the end of the day he takes his daughter back with him from the boarding home. The single mother's understanding looks are the most memorable in the movie.

The soundtrack is full of delightful songs, including the theme song "Domenica d'agosto".

The visual quality of the film screening was often good or fair, but sometimes, including in the beginning it had a look of having been duplicated in many generations in low contrast.


An einem heißen Augustsonntag zieht es die Einwohner Roms ans Meer. In vollgestopften Bussen, auf Fährrädern, in alten klapprigen und in neueren Automobilen drängen sie auf der Straße nach Ostia, zum Strand. Einige dieser Menschen isoliert die Erzählung aus der anonymen Masse heraus.

Luciana will den eher armen Verhältnissen, in denen sie lebt, entfliehen. Sie trennt sich von ihrem arbeitslosen Verlobten Roberto und steigt ins Auto ihres neuen Verehrers. Dieser führt sie in adlige Gesellschaftskreise ein, wo jedoch ein Baron ihr unzüchtig nachstellt und sie schließlich davonläuft.
Ein Witwer gibt seine kleine Tochter in einem katholischen Internat ab, weil die Frau, mit der er zusammenlebt, mehr Zeit mit ihm allein haben will. Ihm wird aber die Hohlheit seiner Beziehung klar, als er am Strand eine nette, alleinstehende Mutter kennenlernt. Er verlässt seine Partnerin und holt die Kleine aus dem Internat zurück.

Die Jugendliche Marcella ist mit ihren Eltern nach Ostia gekommen. Angewidert von den ordinären Jungs am öffentlichen Strand, schleicht sie sich unter dem Zaun hindurch auf den Strandabschnitt eines vornehmen Klubs. Dort lernt sie den Burschen Enrico kennen, mit dem sie sich siezt und eine gehobene Konversation führt. Beide verheimlichen voreinander, dass sie der Arbeiterschicht angehören. Sie rudern zusammen aufs Meer hinaus, verlieren die Beherrschung über ihren Katamaran und kommen stark verspätet zurück.

Nicht alle diese Schicksale spielen sich am Strand ab: Das Dienstmädchen Rosetta, verlobt mit dem Verkehrspolizisten Ercole, ist schwanger, weshalb ihr die Herrschaften gekündigt haben. Für die Zeit bis zur Heirat braucht sie eine Unterkunft, denn Ercole muss als Lediger in der Kaserne logieren.

Roberto, der verlassene Verlobte von Luciana, hat sich während ihrer Abwesenheit an einem Einbruchsdiebstahl beteiligt, um an Geld zu kommen. Als sie aus Ostia zurückkehrt, muss sie mit ansehen, wie er von der Polizei abgeführt wird.

Dafür entdeckt Marcella bei der Ankunft in ihrem Wohnquartier, dass Enrico ebenfalls dort wohnt; für die Verliebten spielt ihr Stand keine Rolle mehr.

"Domenica d'agosto"
Written by Oliviero - Titto Manlio
Performed by Rossana Beccari

"Vieni con me"
Written by Oliviero - De Mura
Performed by Giacomo Rondinella 

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