La Grande Guerra by Mario Monicelli Review
“La grande guerra” (the great war) is a 1959 movie directed by Mario Monicelli, with two great Italian actors, Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman.
This film is set in World War I, Italian front.It tells the adventures of Oreste Jacovacci, Roman, e Giovanni Busacca, from Milan, who are enrolled in the army after trying to hide. Since then, they live all war’s misfortunes: bad food, forced marches, cold, fear.
They always escape unwanted problems and responsibilities, but one night they find themselves in a farmhouse which is caught by the enemy; trying to escape faking themselves to be Austrian they get caught, and sentenced to death for that. To save their lives, Oreste and Giovanni are willing to reveal the location of a ships bridge on the Piave river, but a colonel’s sentence hurts their pride and make them decide to not talk, with a phrase in dialect told by Giovanni (Vittorio Gassman) which have become a popular citation in Italian cinema history. They die like heroes.
This is an important and exclusive movie, in every aspect: characters interpretation, iconographic research, historical reliability. The screenplay presents comical tones and also has non-actors characters. The contraposition between a comic and a dramatic situation enrich the movie, making it remarkable between neorealism cinema scenario. The masterpiece’s war reconstruction is, from an historical point of view, one of the best contributions of Italian cinema to the study of the first worldwide conflict, telling it for the first time with the absence of the fascism and first post-war period rhetoric, which usually depicts a fabulous and heroic Italian war.
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