Monday, March 14, 2016

I Knew Her Well (1965)

I've been obsessed with the aesthetic of mid-century Italy for longer than I can remember. Whether it's an authentic period film like La Dolce Vita or a loving reconstruction like The Talented Mr. Ripley, I've always responded to the whole look and attitude of impeccably styled people having a good old time. After twenty years of Fascism and a World War, can you blame a country for wanting to just cut loose? But underneath that impeccable surface, there was also an emptiness. There was a void that everyone was trying to fill with clothes, cars, music and money. This is what Fellini and Antonioni were making films about. It's also what this film is about. Actress Stefania Sandrelli is the perfect embodiment of that impeccable surface. She's gorgeous and goofy and no matter what life throws at her, she keeps up this chipper fun-loving surface. You're given little indication of the turn things will take in the end. But when you think of all the ways she's been used and abused throughout the film, how could she not? Like all the mournful pop songs that provide the soundtrack, the film itself is underscored with immense sadness.

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