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The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Saturday, January 22, 2000
Family Diary
Valerio Zurlini Italy, 1962

(Cronaca Familiare). [The series'] towering revelation [is] Valerio Zurlini's...Family Diary. Based on Vasco Pratolini's autobiographical novel, it's the story of two Florentine brothers (Mastroianni and Jacques Perrin), estranged for years, who find that they have nothing left but their mutual affection. Mastroianni's restrained portrayal of Enrico, the harried elder brother, seems to me the finest work of his career....In its restraint, its ethereal inwardness, the solemnity of its rhythm, and the contemplative qualities of its narrative, this intimist and elegiac Italian film is closer in spirit to the world of Ozu and Mizoguchi than to that of Fellini. Zurlini is one of the great landscapists of Italian cinema [and was] a close friend of Ottone Rosai, whose haunting views of deserted cities, empty streets, and bare piazzas are echoed in the film....Cronaca Familiare is an excellent introduction to the work of a major filmmaker unjustly neglected in this country.-Elliott Stein, Village Voice/Cinema at the Public

• Written by Zurlini, Vasco Pratolini, Mario Missiroli, based on the novel Two Brothers by Pratolini. Photographed by Giuseppe Rotunno. With Marcello Mastroianni, Jacques Perrin, Sylvie, Salvo Randone. (115 mins, In Italian with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm)