One of the masterpieces of Italian cinema
Italian cinema is known all over the world for some of the films that have made history. One of these is the masterpiece directed by the famous Italian director Pietro Germi. Italian Traditions leads you to the discovery of this film, which has influenced Italian and international cinema. This is certainly a symbol of Italian film culture even today and is important even on the international stage. Here we will tell you more about the plot and the main actors. We will also present the topics it covers and the criticisms received when the film came out.
The film was produced in 1961 and the following year it took part in the Cannes Festival where it won the prize for best comedy. The following year, the film also won three Academy Award nominations. The film won the award for best original screenplay. It was written by Ennio De Concini, Pietro Germi, Alfredo Giannetti and Agenore Incrocci. The fictitious city where most of the film takes place is Ispica in the province of Ragusa. Other scenes were shot in Ragusa and in the areas of Catania.
In short, the protagonist of the story is Baron Ferdinando Cefalù, called Fefè, who lives with his wife Rosalia in the Sicilian town of Agramonte. The two have been married for twelve years but the man is no longer attracted to his wife and instead is in love with his cousin Angela.
The law in force at the time in Italy does not allow divorce but in Sicily there is still the crime of honor. This type of murder allows for less severe sentences.
Thus Fefè desperately tries to find a lover for his wife so he can surprise her in his company. In this way he could take advantage of the honor murder and serve a reduced sentence thus being able to marry his beloved once he was released from prison. His attempts fail, but fate comes to his aid. In fact, his wife after a fight with her husband takes refuge in the arms of an old suitor, Carmelo Patanè.
But that’s not all, the discovery of the protagonist tries to do everything to catch them red handed and thus be able commit the crime of honor. But when he returns home convinced to surprise them, he discovers that the two lovers have fled. So he decides to draw upon himself the contempt of his fellow citizens by pretending to be ill and unable to react. In this way he tries to create the conditions of dishonor that may be sufficient to justify the gesture. Meanwhile the father of the baron’s lover, Uncle Calogero dies.
With the help of a local mafia boss, Don Ciccio Matara, he manages to find the two lovers. When he reaches them he finds Patanè’s wife, who has already killed her husband , and therefore he does the same thing with his wife. He is sentenced to three years in prison. Once he has served his time he returns to the village and marries his beloved Angela. A few months later the union is questioned during their honeymoon. In fact, the film ends with a scene in which Angela kisses her husband while they are on the boat, but in the meantime, however, we can see that she is caressing the foot of the young helmsman.
Also in the cast there are some great Italian actors who see their debut in the film Divorzio all’Italiana. The protagonist is played by Marcello Masrtoianni. The wife is Daniela Rocca while the young Angela is Stefania Sandrelli. The actress gets much notoriety thanks to this film.
Critics and themes
It is certainly one of the most dramatic films among those shot by the famous director at the beginning of his career. The success achieved was such that a new term was coined to define this cinematographic genre. In fact, to paraphrase the title is called Italian comedy. This characterizes the majority of Italian film production in the ’70s and’ 80s.
Germi adapts the novel by Giovanni Arpino entitled A crime of honor and transforms it into a portrait of the mentality of a part of the Sicilian people.
Just think, during the narration two aspects that underline the backwardness of the Italian legislative system are fiercely criticized. This is the divorce, introduced in our country only in 1970 and the existence of such an anachronistic article of the penal code. Its abolition in Italy takes place only twenty years later.
The film shot by the director Pietro Germi represents the beginning of a new way of making films in Italy. This then spreads also internationally. The film can be considered as the first Italian comedy and is one of the cornerstones of film culture. If you want to deepen your knowledge about the director I recommend reading this article too. Now that you know all about Divorzio all’italiana all you have to do is watch it and see it again to discover the greatness of Italian cinema and the great importance it has had in the history of this art.