La Visita (The Visitor)
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Thirty-something stunning beauty Pina (Sandra Milo) takes out an ad in the personal column hoping to find a man to take her away from the tiny Italian village where she lives. For months now she has been trying to find the right one - a man with a solid career, a family in mind, and plenty of stamina. Adolfo (Francois Perier) lives in Rome running a profitable business. Looking to share his life with that special person willing to raise a family Adolfo replies to Pina's ad. The couple arrange to meet in the village where Pina lives. Will they be perfect for one another or will they find things were better the way they were?
Thanks to Raro Video, here s another finely detailed film by the overlooked Italian director Antonio Pietrangeli, whose lucid, unsettling comedy Adua and Her Friends was released by Raro last year. --The New York Times
An increasingly nuanced and complex portrayal of the things we do for security and love, Antonio Pietrangeli s The Visitor (La Visita) is a small masterwork. Following up their superb release of Pietrangeli s Adua and Her Friends, Raro Video presents another solid DVD from this criminally little known Italian filmmaker. --Cinema Sentries
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Top Customer Reviews
My friend replied with, "Who is Antonio Pietrangeli?".
And I'm sure that within the last few decades, many have replied similarly when hearing about this director for the first time.
But it's not surprising. In the 1950's and 1960's, there were Italian filmmakers who were known for their post-war Italian neorealism films or sexual comedies. Similar to other countries in Europe, there was a huge growth of filmmakers and writers who worked on cinema and very few were known for their work in the genre.
Others were forgotten until now. Among those filmmakers who were forgotten was Antonio Pietrangeli ("March's Child", "I Knew Her Well", "Empty Eyes"), a filmmaker known for Commedia all'italiana (Italian style comedy) and worked in the Italian neorealism movement.
While Pietrangeli is also known in Italy for his cinema articles for "Bianco e Nero" and "Cinema" magazines, his films didn't garner too much attention as his other associates were creating films with deep storylines and films that had the best actors or actresses of that era in time.
But in 1963, Pietrangeli would go on to create a film known as "La Visita" (The Visitor) that was truly Commedia all'italiana and have not only captured the attention of today's cineaste but also for many to recognize Antonio Pietrangeli as one of Italy's finest filmmakers. The film would also go against other Commedia all'italiana films in terms of structure and instead of focusing on a male character, "La Visita" would feature a strong female character who was independent and also self-sufficient, which was rare to see in Italian cinema.
The film would star Sandra Milo ("Il generale della Rovere", "8 1/2', "Juliet of the Spirits", "Classe Tous Risques") and French actor Francois Perier ("Nights of Cabiria", "Le Samourai", "Z", "Orpheus").
"La Visita" would be nominated for a Golden Bear Award at the 1964 Berlin International Film Festival and would win the FIPRESCI Prize.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"La Visita" is presented in 1:85:1 black and white and in Digital Mono 2.0 Italian with English subtitles.
The following DVD features a new digitally restored transfer from the original 35mm negative print. I was pretty amazed by how beautiful the film looks, considering it is 50-years-old. There is no sign of aging, contrast is amazing as black levels are deep, whites and grays are well-done. There is some scratches and a scene with a few damage but it's only a few seconds long but the entire film looked magnificent. In fact, I was hoping this was one title that would receive a Blu-ray release from RaroVideo, but for the most part, this film looks fantastic on DVD.
As for audio, dialogue is clear and understandable. I didn't hear any hiss or clicks or any crackle during my viewing of the film. Subtitles are easy to read.
"La Visita" comes with the following special features:
Interview with Ettore Scola - (18:37) Director writer Ettore Scola talks about perceptions of Antonio Pietrangeli than and how people are discovering his work now.
Interview with Armando Trovajoli - (9:49) Interview with composer Armando Trovajoli who talks about working with Pietrangeli.
Interview with Paolo Pietrangeli - (14:45) Interview with director and musician Paolo Pietrangeli about his relationship with his father and how he has been forgotten in Italy but probably be remembered if he directed in other countries.
PDF Booklet - Featuring a wonderful 16-page booklet which includes a film analysis by Gabrielle Lucantonio, "Comments of the Director" by director Antonio Pietrangeli ("Bianco e Nero, 1967) and "Comments of the Leading Actress: Sandra Milo" by Patrizia Pistagnesi, "Hommage a Anna" (1989).
"La Visita" comes with a slipcover case.
Among the Italian filmmakers of the '50s-'60s that were forgotten and have now been rediscovered by today's cineaste, Antonio Pietrangeli's "La Visita" is true commedia all'italiana. Featuring a wonderful performance by Sandra Milo and Francois Perier, "La Visita" is an enjoyable comedy that takes on a disillusioned point of view of life between two lonely individuals who meet each other after corresponding by mail.
But I have to admit, even I have not heard of Antonio Pietrangeli and this is rare considering he has made films that were nominated for awards, he was a film critic for major Italian magazines, he helped jumpstart the career of Sandra Milo and for a filmmaker and screenwriter of this caliber, how is it that his name has been forgotten?
The fact is that with Italian cinema, there was always a focus on Italian neorealism and commedia all'italiana and very few filmmakers were remembered because their work played worldwide. They were written about in cinema magazines all over the world but access to films, especially during that era in time when so many were being released and only the films by notable filmmakers were being focused on, a number of Italian filmmakers fell through the cracks to never be remembered.
But that was then, this is now.
Like in America who many had forgotten actor Harold Lloyd, who is one of the three kings of comedy of silent film, Lloyd started to receive recognition nearly 50-years after his films were released. While Lloyd's awareness was low because he had control over his films, in Italy, Pietrangeli was forgotten because his films were unlike Fellini, Mastroianni, De Sica, Rossellini. In fact, unlike France where many film critics for Caheres went on to write and direct their own films, it was not really appreciated in Italy.
And thus, many people ask, who is Antonio Pietrangeli? And now, here we are with RaroVideo's release of a digitally restored "La Visita", one of the cinema highlights in the career of Pietrangeli but also talents such as Sandra Milo and Francois Perier.
For some, the whole storyline may seem banal. Two lonely people who have corresponded with each other and are perhaps destined to fall in love. But this is not an Ersnt Lubitsch "The Shop Arround the Corner" type of film. These characters are flawed, disillusioned and total opposites and there is no "opposites attract" and trying to sugarcoat it.
Sandra Milo does a fantastic job playing Pina, a woman that is well-known for her posterior that she puts Kim Kardashian to shame. Pietrangeli was especially hard on the actress in order to get her character right, especially having to wear so much butt padding that she eventually realized that the reason why the director was tough on her is because he wanted to get that sense of delusion, that sense of loneliness and she succeeds. She is 36-years-old, absolutely beautiful but perhaps her standards are too high? Or perhaps she needs to travel and find herself elsewhere. But instead, she tries her chances on a newspaper ad.
But unlike female characters in Italian cinema, this woman doesn't rely on her man. She is self-sufficient, she is independent, has her own house, servant and vehicle. So, her character was quite different than what was usually seen in Italian cinema during that era.
Francois Perier is equally wonderful as the disillusioned Francois. A man who lives a ho-hum life, no excitement and because he is treated like a nobody, he has a negative outlook on his life and when he arrives to meet Pina, immediately he looks at her as a plaything, her home as his place to do what he wants. An arrogant man who thinks he can spank any woman's behind whenever he wants, speaks what he wants and eventually the more we get to know him, we are turned off by his attitude.
Which leads us to the director Antonio Pietrangeli. We know that filmmakers Michelangelo Antonioni who take on relationships focus on alienation. Pietrangeli doesn't go for alienation but he does share his disillusion of society with his two characters, two total opposites that don't deserve each other. As Hollywood was about total opposites finding love, this was not going to follow that banality of regurgitating storylines. Nor was this film going to have the same supporting characters. Who would imagine that you would have a character named Cucaracha who is a buffoon that is constantly dancing or tries to wash Pina's car in the rain, who would expect to see a teenager named Chiaretta trying to use her sexuality and see if she can get Francois all hot and bothered.
You just don't come across films like "La Visita" that often and for me, it was refreshing to watch a film and really enjoying it, despite knowing that these two characters are flawed.
As for the DVD release, RaroVideo has done cineaste a great service in releasing this digitally remastered version of the film. For a film that is 50-years-0ld, it looks fantastic on DVD but with that being said, having gone through digital restoration, I really do feel that this film should be released on Blu-ray. It's too beautiful of a film to be only on DVD, so I hope RaroVideo considers an HD release in the near future.
As for special features, you get three interviews that try to focus on how can a filmmaker such as Antonio Pietrangeli be forgotten. Interesting and intriguing interviews and also a wonderful booklet via PDF.
Overall, "La Visita" is captivating, fun and highly entertaining! "La Visita" is true commedia all'italiana, a rare gem that you rarely come across and should be recognized as a masterpiece by Italian filmmaker/writer Antonio Pietrangeli.
The glamourous Tunisian is paired with the hapless French lothario of Francois Périer and the German Mario Adorf, as her childhood playmate now the village voyeur/guardian angel. Milo, voluptuously configured in the posterior and even larger of heart, is the tenderly named Pina, a rural Po Valley spinster with fusspot tendencies. Pina's visitor in San Benedetto Po is Périer's Adolfo, an underemployed Roman bookseller with equal--and incompatible--fusspot hangups. Adolfo quickly susses out Pina's bank balance (and the nymphet teenybopper living nextdoor), rearranges or breaks her tchotkes and abuses her pets. The visit culminates in mixed ecstasies at the village's riverside dance, where Adolfo is humiliated as a male golddigger, Adorf's "Cucaracha" loony emerges as Pina's real soulmate, and the two endearingly misallied fusspots temporarily postpone whirlwind courtship.
These are universally recognizable mating rituals--Po Valley or San Fernando Valley--very sensitively observed and exquisitely detailed. Milo and Périer are brilliant comedic talents, and Adorf is hilariously touching in his unbridled dance sequence, accompanied by Armando Trovajoli's jaunty Nino Rotaesque score. Armando Nannuzzi photographed the visit in glorious 1963 B/W, giving the Po landscapes and the Milo posterior equal attention and an overall retro tinge of neorealist cinematography. (Italy was beginning to prosper again, artistically and materially, and Pina's carefully modernized villa is electrified, with glass-screen telly, tape recorder and similar modcons.) La Milo flaunts a painfully tight Betty Boop perm, bee-stung lips and sheath frocks a size too small. For all her heart, fussing and loneliness (and annoying door chimes) she's a real Po Valley floozy--cf. Sra. Fellini's Cabiria--influenced by Milanese stylemakers, and watching her mince and shimmy, ensheathed, around tight corners is like seeing Jayne Mansfield perilously negotiate similar civil-engineering challenges in THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT. Not by accident, at the very outset Pina/Sandra confidently corrects, in a comically Tashlinesque way, the nagging engineering problems at Pisa's precarious tower, so engaging the viewer's complete understanding and empathy. Périer might not report back to Rome of a great visit to San Benedetto Po, but viewers making the visit on DVD are rewarded with verismo comedy, real sincerity and that spectacular "Sandra de Milo" curvature generously displayed.
From what I heard, it took the screenwriter almost a year to write a movie script for this production...back in those
days they really did pay-close-attention to screenwriting.
Romantic-Comedy, or should I say: Quirky Comedy made Italian Style. This is typical Italian humor: honest, brutal and romantic at once.
The two main character together with "Cucaracha" (great Mario Adorf) :) give performances of their lives.
Call me old-fashioned, but even though I was born in 1980's I can totally relate to 1960's Italy. The entire movie takes place
in some provincial Italian small town somewhere up-north. A lot of scenes are shot inside a village house. The male protagonist, wonderful Francois Perier (Frenchman) playing Italian single from Rome by the name Adolfo Di Palma :)---reminds me of the great
comedians Peter Sellers and Louis de Funes.
The humor, characters, dialogue, and movie flow is just amazing...totally recommend this one for people who enjoyed watching: Nights of Cabiria (1957), Mafioso (1962), Seduced & Abandoned (1964), or Divorce Italian Style (1962).