THE STORY OF BOYS AND GIRLS
DIRECTOR: PUPI AVATI
COUNTRY: ITALY 1991
CAST: Incredibly Large Cast.
SUPER FEATURES: Story is odd, but to the point.
MUSIC: Riz Ortolani
Italian films, specially dealing with family virtues, have a lot of things to consider. In a nation divided by the strength of the catholic faith, its people seem to constantly have an internal battle with the ideals, which while well meaning, are not followed at all, and more often than not are hidden.
This film is actually another exercise in finding out who they actually are, and why. A large family is preparing a wedding for one of its daughters, and everyone is invited.
And everyone shows up.
That's when everything hits the fan. All of a sudden, there are jealousies which come out of nowhere, and expose the corruption of the whole family. The father has been cavorting with a young girl who is going to get married to somebody else he dislikes for more than one reason. He also learns she has been having affairs with others. And his daughter is also far from a saint, and has been involved in many affairs, many of which come clear, when it is seen that former lovers, and relations still want to have sex with her.
And amidst it all is the mother's brother, who is getting older and has taken up a young woman lover with whom he travels, and who keeps house for him and his wife who is an invalid. The wife approves of the man's companion (she's also pregnant) since she can't satisfy him. And the man's sister, is terribly upset that he has brought a prostitute ( so they
call her ) to the family affair. And towards the end of the film he explains himself, and all the others end up shutting up because they all lie, and this man doesn't. They all have, or had, lovers, and said nothing about it, and above all, the women usually do not talk about it, because of the condescending attitudes which the hypocritical men usually undertake.
The film is really a vicious attack on the mores of the whole family, in that they confuse righteousness with ideals, and with reality. The mother is awfully biter, and carries many crosses because she knows her husband is having affairs, and she has become a bitch. She is not fun anymore, he says. She apparently never was, either, though he admits he married her out of spite.
As is customary, in many Italian films, the family fiber is very confused, and not totally clear, in a society where men still mistreat the women, and take advantage of them. And the film is a bit of a victory for honesty, in that the only relationship that is not messed up, and emotionally bound to disgust and hatred is the elder man's surrogate wife who replaces his actual wife, and with an apparent agreement, which the girl has accepted. She was poor, on drugs, and destitute, and this man saved her from the ugly streets. She owes him a favor. it seems, and she does not dislike the elder man.
While not a fun film to watch, it seems that every soap opera star in Italy is cast in this film, and it is well done, were it not that it is filmed in provincial Italy, and has an aged and traditional feel to it. The new tradition is honesty, and the whole family doesn't have it.
The film ends with everyone going their way. Nothing has really changed since the young man engaged to the daughter is making his eyes towards the rich widower of the family (another sister of the mother), with whom he will undoubtedly have a hot affair which started in this province and will be consummated in Rome in the protection of the larger town, where gossip tends to disappear faster than it appears.
GOOD FILM. TENSE FAMILY SITUATIONS.
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