I Saw A Film!

This old Italian dark comedy, dissipating into some loopy Beckett-like weirdness, is a fun one. There are five separate short films, with little to connect them really, except that they all feature ladies, as any good film should, and the ladies are all central to the emotional upswell as they often are. Does it make them witches? And what exactly is a witch?

The title sequences, with a kind of Gilliam-esque animation with Ennio Morricone or Piero Piccione music (not sure who was responsible for the title sequences, but they’re both listed for film music and both geniuses) is possibly half the fun of this production.

There are five bits in this film, each entirely unconnected to the last, but shorts are a great way to mix up our film expectations.

The first part involves a beautiful movie star coming to a party and firing up all the men’s libido’s while inspiring all the women to basically tear her to bits. It’s possibly the witchiest of the set of films, as it’s a very good example of unleashed jealousy and phony affections.

I lost one of the stories, and I’m not sure how (zzzzzz), but the next one, “A View of the Earth From the Moon” I noted was the most unusual. It involves a pair of men, both extremely clown-like in their red-haired, eye-rolling appearance (the elder man played by Toto, who was once possibly the best known movie star in the world! He, in fact, passed away the year this was made). The younger apparently the son of the elder, at the grave of what we assume was the boy’s mother, they are discussing the next lady they will bring into their lives, and march directly from the graveside to the first woman, lavish her with compliments but fail to impress for a while. We’re given little narrative cards to enhance the story, and as time passes the duo do finally find a lady who doesn’t speak. There’s a lot of pantomime and further clowning, and we learn their name is Miao. Which is played for maximum effect. The lady marries the old man, and they are off to a decrepit shack where they launch a wack-a-doodle plan to step up to a nicer home (this is basically a plot Toto perfected, outlandish penniless scheming for money). We’re told by the bizarre ending that in life as in death there isn’t much of a difference, but I frankly can’t parse the meaning of the weirdness if in fact I’m meant to! While this segment is absurd and bizarre it’s kind of hauntingly unforgettable.

The fourth bit is very short and more of a joke than a story, a young woman, meant to be Sicilian, bitches to her papa, wearing a “wife-beater” T-shirt, about some fellow, launching a chain of violence that takes the lives of several men. In the end she falls about crying over the coffins somehow unaware that her hair-wrenching upset is what launched the series of shootings. Not particularly good that.

The finale little film is fun, it stars none other than Clint Eastwood (taking a break from his spaghetti western roles) alongside a cute and bored wife who longs desperately for some sort of excitement (this is possibly the most realistic of our tales). Eastwood is a lackey in an office someplace and exhausted by the fact that his boss kept him late and didn’t offer him a chair while they talked. The poor fellow is working the sixty hour week and by the time he’s home he’s basically asleep. His lady is full of fantasy, some violent, some sexy, she screams to wake her wonk husband who just blandly wishes for chairs for all the workers of the world. Some of the little vignettes of face-slapping and on-the-knees declarations of love are very amusing.

I think I was meant to be an Italian, am I allowed?

This runs for free on Prime and is good while you stir your ice cream into a smooth gellato.

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