Una Giornata Particolare | A Special Day – Italy – 1977 – 107 minutes – Color – 1.85:1 – Italian – Criterion Collection Spine #778
Una Giornata Particolare | A Special Day is, unknown to many, a pearl of the Italian cinema. Ettore Scola, in 1977, made a film well ahead of its time (and ahead of most of the movies made today). Scola shot a movie about the Italian mentality on homosexuality and women in general.
His first idea was to set the film in the present days (late 70s). Instead of having Hitler ‘visiting’ Mussolini in Italy, the original concept was to show an exodus of people from a block of flats to a very important football game. Only two people remained and met. But then, he decided to show how the above mentality had been taken to the extreme by a regime, making it even more dangerous.
Some of techniques Scola used to shoot the movie were, and still are, innovative and..WOW (just check the amazing tracking shot early in the movie). The script was wonderfully written. Sophia Loren and the mighty Marcello Mastroianni were perfect in their roles. Quoting Ettore Scola, “there was a gay and insecure side of Marcello and Sophia was not ‘in your face’ and loud like most of the people thought”. The actors were, in a way, portraying part of their personalities.
Originally it was intended to be shot in black&white, but the producers forced the Director to do it in colour (he then washed the colours away so the movie could still feel like a black and white one), Una Giornata Particolare tells the story of two solitudes who meet and exchange a bit of love against the backdrop of Fascist Italy. Scola depicts with astonishing delicacy the figure of a homosexual, intelligent, cultured man, giving to the Italian viewers of that time the tools to empathise and sympathise with the character.
A wonderful, tender and touching movie. My real highlight of Criterion’s October 2015 releases (we do ALL already have Mulholland Drive in HD, don’t we?). A masterpiece of Italian cinema. Do not miss it.