Divorce Italian Style
1961 | Comedy | 108 minutes | Italian with English subtitles
Ferdinando, an impoverished nobleman, feels stuck in a marriage with Rosalie, an unattractive and common woman. Secretly, he’s totally smitten by Angela, a much younger and attractive neighbor. In Sicily, where they live, divorce is an impossibility. If you decide to to murder your wife, that will get you a jail sentence of 20-years or more. However, if the murder is committed because of a blatant infidelity, you may just get a slap on the wrist and the admiration of your neighbors. So, Ferdinando’s plan is to hatch a romance between Rosalie and Carmelo, a local, who has had feelings for Rosalie. Rosalie and Carmelo finally give in to their passion and run off as a couple. Ferdinando is now ridiculed as a pathetic cuckold. At this time he feels justified killing Rosalie. This “crime of honor” is actually defended by the State Prosecutor and Ferdinando received a light sentence. In an epilogue, Ferdinando and Angela are happily lounging on a sailboat. While Ferdinando is looking elsewhere, Angela is seductively rubbing her feet against the workman steering the boat.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Academy Awards: Winner, Best Screenplay (Ennio De Concini, Alfredo Giannetti, Pietro Germi)
Golden Globes: Winner, Best Actor (Marcello Mastroianni); Best Foreign Film
BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best Actor (Marcello Mastroianni); Best Film
Cannes Film Festival: Best Comedy
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Pietro’s Germi’s humorous, boldly wild DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE is effective as a witty comedy, broad farce, and poignant satire. The movie, which was an international hit, changes tones as it goes along, but fulfills expectations of all these movie formats.
Pietro Germi, who directed and helped write the script, announces himself with this achievement as a master of farce in any style. He has managed to establish his thesis so well, with a wonderful droll illumination of the slippery characters of the community, and he has worked out his plot so deftly, with his tongue obviously in his cheek, that the whole arrangement seems not only respectable but all devilishly ingenious.
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