"The Garden of the Finzi Continis," adapted from Giorgio Bassani's highly regarded novol (which I have not read), is certainly the best film that Vittorio De Sica has made in years, but the shabby habits he acquired when directing such things as "Sunflower" and "A Place for Lovers" keep intruding upon this new, much more ambitious work to render it less affecting than it has every right to be.
La trama ripercorre la vicenda di Giorgio, studente di Lettere di famiglia ebraica che si innamora di Micol Finzi Contini, giovane ebrea ferrarese proprietaria di una maestoso giardino che fa da sfondo a lunghe partite di tennis. Le loro vite si legano mentre in Italia vengono promulgate le leggi razziste e si concludono con le tetre immagini dell’arresto della famiglia Finzi Contini, privata della propria innata nobiltà e condannata all’inferno dei lager nazisti.
When the tennis club, observing Mussolini's new anti-Semitic laws, drops the Finzi Continis from its rolls, Micol Finzi Contini (Dominique Sanda) and her brother, Alberto (Helmut Berger), make a tentative gesture towards ending their aristocratic isolation. They invite friends—gentiles as well as Jewish—into their sanctuary to play tennis on long, lovely, hot summer afternoons. Micol is paid romantic court by Giorgio (Lino Capolicchio), the narrator of the film, a nice young Jewish boy, but she has midnight assignations with Malnate, a gentile whom she can never marry.
All of the other major performances are similarly reduced in dimension—Helmut Berger's tubercular Alberto, who is literally dying; Fabio Testi's Malnate, a gentile as doomed as the Finzi Continis, and Lino Capolicchio's Giorgio, through whose eyes we watch the downfall of the Finzi Continis, aristocrats fatally anesthetized against the realities of the world around them.
|Il giardino dei Finzi Contini
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