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WE ALL LOVED EACH OTHER SO MUCH (C’eravamo tanto amati) (director/writer: Ettore Scola; screenwriters: Age/Furio Scarpelli; cinematographer: Claudio Cirillo; editor: Raimondo Crociani; music: Armando Travaiola; cast: Nino Manfredi (Antonio), Vittorio Gassman (Gianni), Stefania Sandrelli (Luciana), Stefana Satta Flores (Nicola), Giovanna Ralli (Elide), Aldo Fabrizi (Catenacci), Isa Barzizza (Landlady), Marcella Michelangeli (Nicola’s wife); Runtime: 126; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Plo Angeletti/Adriano De Micheli; Columbia Pictures; 1974-Italy-in Italian-with English subtitles)
“A lousy title leads to an awkward pic.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A lousy title leads to an awkward pic. It’s directed by Ettore Scola (“Splendor”/”The Terrace”/”The Family”), who cowrites it with Age and Furio Scarpelli. It’s an overbaked story of three close friends, Antonio (Nino Manfredi), Nico (Stefana Satta Flores), and Gianni (Vittorio Gassman), who bonded as leftist partisan soldiers in 1944 during WWII war and were forced apart by time and class allegiances. The story is told through elaborate flashbacks that take place over a 30-year time span and in a gimmicky way shifts from black and white to color. In a conceit that particularly irritated me, it has the actors at times addressing the audience.

The Felliniesque comedy (shows clips from his La Dolce Vita) is dedicated to Vittorio De Sica and has cameos by Fellini and De Sica. Stefania Sandrelli plays Luciana, the ditsy aspiring actress that becomes the object of the three men’s affections during the postwar period. Luciana’s acting career is highlighted when she’s cast as an extra in “La Dolce Vita.” The men are all depicted as idealists with vastly different backgrounds. Antonio is a goofy but good-natured hospital orderly and a politically active prole, Gianni is an opportunistic bourgeois lawyer and Nicola is a radical intellectual film buff who leaves his wife and child to go to Rome. The three lives parallel the growth of Italian cinema over the ensuing years.

This overly sentimental melodrama, with film clips of neorealist Italian filmmakers Antonioni, Rossellini, Visconti and De Sica, is sometimes bearable and sometimes just plain crass. In any case, I never warmed up to it.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”