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La Visita (Italian Release)

Other // Unrated // October 10, 2006 // Region 2
List Price: $20.99 [Buy now and save at Xploitedcinema]

Review by Svet Atanasov | posted November 1, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Film:



Thirty-something stunning beauty Pina (Sandra Milo) is looking for a man to take her away from the tiny village where she lives. For months now she has been trying to find the right one - a man with a solid career, a family in mind, and plenty of stamina.



Adolfo (Francois Perier) lives in Rome running a profitable business. Looking to share his life with that special person willing to raise a family Adolfo replies to Pina's ad. The couple arranges to meet in the village where Pina lives and see what happens. Perhaps faith has a plan for them! When the two finally meet Pina quickly concludes that Adolfo is the one. He appears noble, cultured, and ready for a serious commitment - Pina can hardly believe her luck!



Smart, edgy, and outrageously hilarious Antonio Pietrangeli's La Visita a.k.a The Visit (1963) is a film based on a story by Ruggero Maccari and Ettore Scola (La Terrazza) originally intended to be directed by notorious Italian director Guiseppe De Santis (Riso Amaro a.k.a Bitter Rice). As De Santis surprisingly refused to get involved with the project Antonio Pietrangeli found himself behind the camera.



Structured as a bitter comedy with plenty of heavy social overtones La Visita is a film that mirrors much of the stylistic preferences showcased by Michelangelo Antonioni in his early works. In fact, the inclusion of scattered flashbacks meant to highlight parts of Pina's and Adolfo's lives prior to their meeting is something that very much reminds about Michelangelo Antonioni's tendency to entwine past with present. Here the subtle juxtaposition of reality with fiction provides La Visita with a sense of uncertainty-even though the audience is quickly told why Pina and Adolfo are together their past reveals quite a different story.



Despite of the fact that La Visita is an outrageously funny film with plenty of zesty scenes its core is disturbingly serious. Antonio Pietrangeli's heavy criticism on traditional Italian themes such as family and morality often borders the biting language of Pasolini. The difference here is that instead of building on the mentioned above criticism La Visita only temporarily flirts with it leaving the viewer undecided how serious the director's agenda is.



Lastly what will surprise many after seeing La Visita is how incredibly modern this film looks. The easiness with which Antonio Pietrangeli juggles race (listen carefully to Adolfo's racial remarks), love, and female isolation is stunning. In addition, the language the main protagonists use is anything but outdated - it is fresh, convincing, and often amusingly sarcastic.



Awards/ Nominations:



In 1964 the film won the prestigious FIPRESCI Prize (Antonio Pietrangeli) during the Berlin International Film Festival.





How Does the DVD Look?



If you have not yet seen any of the recent releases by Minerva-Italia then you should. If you have then you pretty much know what to expect from the Italian distribs. This DVD is not an exception. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and enhanced for widescreen TV's La Visita looks absolutely stunning!! The film has undergone substantial restoration work and it clearly shows: excellent black and white gradation, perfect contrast, great detail (the image remains exceptionally strong when blown through a digital projector), and a progressive transfer that should satisfy even the most pretentious of viewers is what we have here. Furthermore, I could not detect any dirt or damage on this print and watching the film was a delightful experience. Quite frankly the passion and care Minerva seem to be putting in these releases of classic Italian films ought to warm the hearts of many knowledgeable film aficionados as many if not all of the films they restore and release are without an English-friendly release in the rest of the world. To sum it all up I am incredibly impressed with the beautiful presentation!! Region 2, PAL-encoded (even though the back cover of the DVD is "officially" labeled as Region 2 the disc is actually region-free).



How Does the DVD Sound?



Spot on!!



Presented with its original Italian mono track and optional English subtitles the audio is equally impressive: the dialog is very easy to follow, the sound is crystal clear, and even for the untrained ear it should be obvious that some very serious restoration work has been done. Impressive!!



Extras:



First thing first the entire menu system of the DVD is in English! So is the lovely massive booklet provided by Minerva which features an extract from an interviews with Antonio Pietrangeli from 1967, an extract from an interview with Sandra Milo taken in 1999, a director's anthology, biography, and a detailed history of the film presented in the form of an essay. The actual extras on the disc include English friendly interviews with Ettore Scola in which he talks about the Italian comedies from the 1950-70s and their ability to mirror reality, an Interview with composer Armando Trovajoli in which he talks about his collaboration with Pietrangeli and Scolla and how he was able to contribute to the film, and finally a very interesting Interview with Paolo Pietrangeli, the son of Antonio Pietrangeli, in which he talks about his father's work, the fact that he failed to appreciate the talent of his father, and history behind this film. The only unsubbed extra here is the commentary F. De Bernardinis.



Final Words:



A marvelous film with an enormously modern look La Visita is arguably Antonio Pietrangeli's best film!! It is also one that it is yet to see the light of day in the US. If interested in classic Italian cinema this R2 produced disc comes very highly-recommended. It is of Criterion-esque quality and entirely English-friendly!!


C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
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