Ieri, Oggi, Domani aka Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow based on stories by Alberto Moravia among others and directed by Vittorio de Sica
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is a wonderful comedy, that will be followed in the program of the National Television with another gem next Monday, another Italian masterpiece.
It has won the Academy Award for Best Picture in a Foreign Language and other prestigious awards.
Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroiani are superb in this trilogy.
In the first part, Adelina Sbaratti is married to Carmine Sbaratti.
She has to provide for him and their many children.
I don't even know how many they were...perhaps the two of them have lost count.
Since Adelina Sbaratti is involved in an illegal trade with cigarettes, having children is an odd way to stay out of...prison.
At least for some time.
From the start of the film, we have an authority who is facing down Carmine Sbaratti:
- You had to pay a fine
- Because the wife did not, the sum owed is bigger now...
- Do you want to pay it?
- How can I? If I could not pay less, how could I get the money for more??
- Then we have to take the furniture and everything else!
Only when he enters the shabby rooms, there is nothing left...
- You took everything!!
Indeed, after the authorities leave, from a side street people come back with the Sbaratti belongings.
A lawyer scares them hard when he says that what they did was very serious according to the Penal Code and he cites some articles and laws.
In the known, agitated, humorous, effervescent and passionate Italian style, Adelina and her spouse come to the lawyer and shout something like:
- Mamma Mia!
- Come e possibile!
- Santa Maria e mio Padrone!
She is very worried that she will go to jail.
But when the lawyer sees she is pregnant he mentions other provisions of the law:
They cannot arrest you in this state!
And it now becomes a race to have children continuously.
For this is a pass out of prison and she wants to use the stratagem to the end.
When the tax officials raid the streets, all the women run away with their folding tables and their trafficked merchandise.
It is only the women who do this for some reason.
But Adelina stays put because she is other obviously advanced in her pregnancy or she has a certificate from the doctor saying she is that many months pregnant.
There is trouble and jocularity when poor Carmine becomes exhausted with this task of fathering so many children:
When the children are in bed she always turns to me and says...
Come on Carmine it's time to perform...or words to that effect
The tired, malnourished man is resting at his mother's.
And his wife mocks this and even turns against him when a new, perhaps tenth child fails to materialize and there is no impregnation.
They get to a doctor, not an analyst as they would today or even back then in a richer country.
The doctor examines Carmine and he says:
- The husband needs rest
- He does not eat well and he is fatigued.
- Let him be for a few months and then he will be alright.
Adelina protests with vehemence.
And indeed, given that she has no medical pass, she ends up in jail, with the infant baby that covered for her last time.
In a remarkable show of solidarity, the community participates in collecting the sum needed to pay Adelina's fine.
In barber shops and everywhere they have boxes for money to be offered for her liberation.
And yet that is delayed on account of bureaucracy.
Adelina shouts at her husband when he is visiting...
- You run at your mother!
- Feeble man!
- Why don't you get me out of here?!
But she she is faithful.
When the occasion arises, she rejects the man who wanted to give her another child and a pass for Prison Break...
Excellent chef d'oeuvre!