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Divorce Italian Style (The Criterion Collection)
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On the sun-blasted island of Sicily, Baron Ferdinand "Fefè" Cefalù (Mastroianni) breaks out of his heat- and boredom-induced stupor long enough to be smitten with mad passion for his 16-year-old cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli). But he's married--to Rosalia (Daniela Rocca), she of the unfortunate mustache--and the Italian Penal Code gives him no way out... except, of course, for catching his wife in adultery and availing himself of the patriarchal license to commit a "crime of honor." So Fefè searches for a way to fling Rosalia into the arms of another man.
Mastroianni's Fefè is an indelible masterpiece, visually and behaviorally: a portrait in painterly chiaroscuro, with brilliantined hair, eternally drooping eyelids, a cigarette holder angled in perpetual salute, and a manic, conspiratorial slouch, like Groucho Marx on painkillers. Germi's direction hustles the film along with bold, mobile camerawork, stream-of-consciousness lurches into fantasy and flashback, Fefè's feverish voiceover commentary, and a wonderfully propulsive music score by the late Carlo Rustichelli. --Richard T. Jameson
- Pietro Germi: The Man with the Cigar in His Mouth, a 39-minute documentary by critic and filmmaker Mario Sesti
- Delighting in Contrasts, a new 30-minute interview featuring Stefania Sandrelli, Lando Buzzanca, and Mario Sesti
- Rare screen-test footage of actresses Daniela Roca and Stefania Sandrelli
- A new essay by film critic Stuart Klawans
Top Customer Reviews
Ferdinando Cefalú (Marcello Mastroianni) is a middle-aged Sicialian noble who is displeased with his life, and his adoring wife Rosalia (Daniela Rocca). In true midlife-crisis fashion, he falls for his angelic-looking cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli), but he can't get a divorce. Divorce isn't allowed in Italy at this time, so Ferdinando is left stewing over his problems, fantasizing about murdering Rosalia.
But then he hears about an odd law: if an adulterous spouse is caught in flagrante, then the wronged spouse can kill the adulterer and get off with a light prison sentence. So Ferdinando starts desperately searching for a potential lover for Rosalia, but she remains faithful. Then he locates an ex-boyfriend of hers, hoping to rekindle the old flame. But nothing goes quite according to plan...
Yes, it's a bit sick. But in such a funny way that it really doesn't offend. At a certain point it becomes less about Ferdinando trying to murder his wife, as it is an increasingly overwrought attempt to get her to commit adultery. Not to mention a spoof on traditional views on "family honor," where it is more shocking to NOT kill your adulterous spouse than it is to do so.
Ferdinando carefully straddles the line between being slime and being a funny character -- his surreal murder fantasies are hilarious, such as when he shoves Rosalia into a vat of soap.Read more ›
Aristocrat Fefe cannot stand his wife. Loud, annoying, crazy facial hair she grates on his nerves all day then wants to cuddle, etc all night. Yuck! Lucky for him though there is a 16-year-old hottie next door that is in love with him. Yes!
Now all he has to do is get rid of his wife, but since divorce is illegal he's just gonna have to kill her, but that means prison unless! Unless he catches her in the arms of another man then he'll get less than 3 years! But who would ever want to be with his wife?
Flawlessly directed with an almost psychotic intensity I think I grinned like an idiot the entire movie. And the performance! Everybody was great, but Marcello Mastroianni was absolutely brilliant. I'd laugh even when he was just standing around thinking.
Double feature this with THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH.
D: Pietro Germi (MY FRIENDS, SEDUCED AND ABANDONED)
W: Ennio De Concini (SALON KITTY, BLACK SUNDAY)
Ferdinando Cefalu - Marcello Mastroianni (LA DOLCE VITA, 8 1/2)
Rosalina Cefalu - Daniela Rocca (THE SUCKER, BEHOLD A PALE HORSE)
Angela - Stefania Sandrelli (1900, THE CONFORMIST)
Stefania Sandrelli, who became one of the great ladies of the Italian cinema, plays the cousin. She was only 15 when the film was shot but could easily pass for, say, 18. She is sensual, sweet and a bit naughty. In the final scene, famous for its fitting irony, the last thing we see are her feet. I won't tell you more, but the movie is almost worth seeing just for that final scene.
Rocca's Rosalia on the other hand is more syrupy than sweet and would qualify as clinging. She could smother a lumberjack, and although it is not polite to comment unfavorably on a lady's looks, I must note that she seemed to be having a bad facial hair day, everyday. Her impersonation of a country baroness nonetheless was unforgettable. I also liked 16-year-old Margherita Girelli as Sisini, the maid. Her coquettish ways helped to lend a French bedroom farce flavor to the film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Divorce, Italian Style is a film I almost rate up. It is an entertaining story and somehow Mastroianni is able to make the film comical and play a sympathetic lead. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3
Just like "Seduced and Abandoned", hysterical and sad at the same time. It will SURELY offend the sensibilities of feminists, but there's an element of Karma/Revenge... Read morePublished 7 months ago by JCh- Albuquerque
Super fast shipping and excellent quality DVD. Thank you!Published 13 months ago by Cynthia O' Keeffe
One of my favorite movies! I am so happy that it is available in DVd form as it is not easily accessible in popular streaming sites.Published 17 months ago by Adrienne M. Butvinik
"Divorce Italian Style" is a charcoal black comedy about an aristocrat who wants to kill his wife so he can possess his cousin. Read morePublished 20 months ago by B. Adducchio
I used to think it was "Dr. Strangelove." Sometimes I still think it's "Lolita." Or "The Rite of Spring," "Guernica, "Sweeney Todd," "The Great Gatsby," "The Book of Mormon,"... Read morePublished on December 7, 2012 by trastevere
The film parodies the divorce laws of Italy during the 1960s, when a man could kill his wife with little to no punishment if she had been unfaithful to him. Read morePublished on October 27, 2012 by Jay
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