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The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Friday, January 21, 2000
Chronicle of Poor Lovers 9:25
Carlo Lizzani Italy, 1954

(Cronache di poveri amanti). Mastroianni cited this controversial film as one of his best of his early period, and Alberto Moravia praised it highly. Directed by one of the central figures of Italian neorealism, known for his mixture of Marxism and melodrama, this is the moving portrayal of the inhabitants of Via del Corno, an alley in Florence, in 1925. The struggle between Communists and Fascists following the First World War serves as a backdrop for a richly observed, intimate "group portrait" of the prostitutes, young lovers, servants, and masters who live on the alley. Though the film is ensemble, even choral, in its structure, Mastroianni stands out as an antifascist fruit vendor who tries to unite his neighbors against Mussolini and his Blackshirts. The government attacked the film, tried to have it banned at home and abroad, and when it was invited to the Cannes Film Festival, threatened never to send another Italian film to Cannes if it won any prizes. It won the Special Jury Award.

• Written by Lizzani, Massimo Mida, Vasco Pratolini, from the novel by Pratolini. Photographed by Gianni Di Venanzo. With Anna Maria Ferrero, Cosetta Greco, Antonella Lualdi, Marcello Mastroianni. (108 mins, In Italian with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm)