The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, December 14-20

nyc-repertory-cinema-ilsorpasso

Il Sorpasso (1962)
Directed by Dino Risi
While we often celebrate post-war Italy’s cinema—the neorealist films about the everyday malaise, the hustle, and the struggle of the common Italian by the likes of Visconti, Rossellini or De Sica—we tend to overlook the equally masterful comedies that emerged later. Italy’s prolific film industry was at an all-time high in the early 60s. Amidst these wonderful films, Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life) is a delightful example of a commedia all’italiana. This odd-couple road comedy, co-written by Ettore Scola, stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as Roberto, a painfully shy and handsome young law student and Vittorio Gassman as Bruno, a forty-something, reckless bachelor. The film begins on what appears to be a summer holiday. Bruno speeds through the empty streets of Rome and meets Roberto. Seeing that they’re the only two souls in Rome and all the bars are closed, Bruno persuades Roberto to take a ride in his Lancia Aurelia convertible. What was supposed to be a quick lunch in the outskirts of Rome ends up as a 48-hour adventure around Tuscany, chasing German girls and carelessly racing with strangers, all while visiting some poignant and more intimate places of their romantic and familiar pasts. Alejandro Veciana (December 14, 6:30pm; December 18, 5pm at MoMA’s Risi series)

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