Saturday, January 15, 2011
I Dolci Inganni (1960)
My personal favorite Catherine Spaak role and one of the greatest Italian movies of the nineteen-sixties, Alberto Lattuada's 1960 masterpiece "I Dolci Inganni." Seldom seen outside of Italy, this is a solemn and brilliantly observed story chronicling one teenage girl's day of romantic confusion and sexual curiosity. It has in my opinion one of the finest openings in cinema: a single shot several minutes long consisting of Spaak sleeping in bed, her face subtley expressing a sensual reaction to her dream before the character bolts awake with quiet intensity, followed by her subsequent physical reaction as she adjusts herself under the sheets before drifting back to sleep. Over the course of the next day she struggles internally to make a decision on whether or not to act out her sensuality and romanticism, meeting and conversing with several characters along the journey, all of whom are dealing with their own idiosyncratic complications with love and sex. These characters include Jean Sorel as a handsome actor locked in a relationship with a wealthy older woman who mocks him in front of company but who claims to love him.
It's a visually gorgeous film, almost every single shot is beautiful and the cinematographer Gábor Pogány bathes Spaak in an ethereal glow that rivals some of the finest-looking black and white films of the era. A good deal of the film doesn't have any dialogue and is carried by visuals and music, with the brilliant composer Piero Piccioni providing one of his best scores.