“A pity party that has no business being so much fun,” UNA VITA DIFFICLE opens in the U.S. after a 62 year wait.
The long-awaited U.S. premiere of Dino Risi’s Una Vita Difficile, starring one of the most beloved of all Italian actors, Alberto Sordi (Mafioso, Il Boom, Fellini’s The White Sheik and I Vitelloni, etc.), was greeted with big crowds and admiring reviews when Rialto Pictures opened its restoration in New York last month. Laemmle Theatres opens the film about a resistance fighter-turned-journalist and his wife (Lea Massari) navigating life in post-war Italy on Friday, March 17 at the Royal and Town Center and March 24 at the Monica Film Center and Laemmle Glendale.
The New York Times’ critic A.O. Scott hailed it as “a stellar specimen of commedia all’italiana.” In his review for Air Mail, Michael Sragow proclaimed, “Alberto Sordi triumphs at jet-black comedy…(he’s) Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in their prime, rolled into one.”
In Italy, Una Vita Difficile has long been cherished as a highlight of the 1950s and 60s golden age of Italian comedy, which also gave the world Big Deal on Madonna Street, Divorce Italian Style, Mafioso, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and Risi’s own Il Sorpasso (made the year after Una Vita Difficile). While these and others were major arthouse hits in the U.S., Una Vita Difficile was inexplicably never released here…until now.
“It sounds absurd to even contemplate: an unreleased 1961 epic romance starring the legendary Alberto Sordi that tackles the decades after WWII — a mixture of sentiment and grand historic sweep that the Italians always did so well — that’s somehow just getting a U.S. release.” — Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
“Risi’s deft seriocomic panorama, from Mussolini’s fall to the rise of the postwar Roman oligarchy…Alberto Sordi triumphs at jet-black comedy when the antihero fails as an idealist, a husband, even as a sell-out. The closest America has come to Sordi is Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in their prime, rolled into one.” — Michael Sragow, Air Mail
Interested in real raw espionage, Churchill, Monty, Ungentlemanly Warfare, John le Carré, Kim Philby, SAS Rogue Heroes, 22 SAS Regiment (Malaya) and Philby’s interest therein. Do read the epic spy novel, Bill Fairclough’s Beyond Enkription in TheBurlingtonFiles series. He was one of Pemberton’s People in MI6 (see the brief News Article dated 31 October 2022 in TheBurlingtonFiles website). The thriller is the stuff memorable films are made of, raw, realistic yet punchy, pacy and provocative; a super read as long as you don’t expect John le Carré’s delicate diction, sophisticated syntax and placid plots.
It’s a fact based book which follows the real life of a real spy, Bill Fairclough (MI6 codename JJ) aka Edward Burlington who worked for British Intelligence, the CIA et al. It’s like nothing we have ever come across before. We wonder what The Burlington Files would have been like if David Cornwell had collaborated with Bill Fairclough. They did consider it and even though they didn’t collaborate, Beyond Enkription is still described as ”up there with My Silent War by Kim Philby and No Other Choice by George Blake”.
Do take a look at TheBurlingtonFiles website. It is like a living espionage museum and as breathtaking as a compelling thriller. As for Beyond Enkription. it’s a must read for espionage cognoscenti. See https://theburlingtonfiles.org/news_2022.10.31.php for starters.