This retrospective of Marcello Mastroianni has been designed by Anna Maria Tatò.
By the time of his death in 1996, at age 72, Marcello Mastroianni had appeared in over 170 films, from the mordant comedies of Monicelli and Germi to the modernist masterpieces of Fellini and Antonioni, and films by a host of international directors. His training ground was the theater-in the estimable troupe of Luchino Visconti, where for ten years he played everything from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. But acting in cinema-which he preferred for its "approximations and improvisations, for its confusion"-came to mean everything to Mastroianni. Just how much he meant to the cinema is attested to in these twenty-two films, where Mastroianni defines the screen actor's art and our joy in it.
Mastroianni's technique was one of deceptive ease. In interviews he took pains to debunk his "Latin Lover" image and said those who called him that had never seen his films. Certainly, they had never seen his eyes. "The sensitive man everywhere feels lost," Mastroianni said in 1965. He became, indelibly, Fellini's alter-ego, but in scores of other films, as well, he was a recognizable hero for our times, European man, at sea in the second half of this century. "Who's a hero under the atom bomb?" he quoted Antonioni, "or who isn't one?" Films such as Il bell'Antonio, Family Diary, and White Nights are among the revelations of this series. But like his Henry IV, Marcello knew "one can't be 26 forever." When he grew old he played old men, introspective, retrospective characters, such as those in Mikhalkov's Dark Eyes and Angelopoulos's The Beekeeper.
Mastroianni had studied to be an architect, to say, "Look, there is something I did which I love and which will last-at least a little longer than myself." He became an actor instead, and built that legacy on the screen.
This series is cosponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy, San Francisco, and presented in cooperation with the San Francisco Film Society. Special thanks to Antonio Breschi and Rosanna Santececca in Rome, and Amelia Antonucci and Peter Scarlet in San Francisco. This series is presented by Cinecittà International, a division of Cinecittà Holding, S.P.A., in collaboration with Italia Cinema.
The S.F. Film Society presents the series at the Castro Theater between January 21 and February 3. For information on the San Francisco screenings, call (415) 931-FILM.
A book, The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of: The Films of Marcello Mastroianni, edited by Francesco Tatò, accompanies the exhibition and will be sold at the PFA Box Office.