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 Post subject: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:27 pm 
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A Special Day

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Italian cinema dream team Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are cast against glamorous type and deliver two of the finest performances of their careers in this moving, quietly subversive drama from Ettore Scola. Though it's set in Rome on the historic day in 1938 when Benito Mussolini and the city first rolled out the red carpet for Adolf Hitler, the film takes place entirely in a working-class apartment building, where an unexpected friendship blossoms between a pair of people who haven't joined the festivities: a conservative housewife and mother tending to her domestic duties and a liberal radio broadcaster awaiting deportation. Scola paints an exquisite portrait in sepia tones, a story of two individuals helpless in the face of fascism's rise.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Ettore Scola, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Human Voice, a 2014 short film starring Sophia Loren and directed by Edoardo Ponti
• New interviews with Scola and actor Sophia Loren
• Two 1977 episodes of The Dick Cavett Show featuring Loren and actor Marcello Mastroianni
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by critic Deborah Young


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:54 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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I've never even heard of this, but a search of the board finds the two posters who've mentioned it by name also consider it the director's "masterpiece" (their words), so it has its fans. Anyone (else) familiar with this?


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:59 pm 
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I've heard of it a few times, also primarily in terms of being Scola's masterpiece, but not much else. Scola also helped write fellow Crit member Il Sorpasso.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:02 pm 
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I just heard of it today, but for what it's worth it's on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? top 2000.


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 Post subject: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:09 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
I've never even heard of this, but a search of the board finds the two posters who've mentioned it by name also consider it the director's "masterpiece" (their words), so it has its fans. Anyone (else) familiar with this?

Surprised that you have never heard of it, as it frequently appears in discussions of the greatest Italian films of all time. Like Il sorpasso previously, it is probably less well known to English speakers as it has never had an English-friendly release until Criterion now.

Scola is one of those directors who seems to be held in much higher regard on the continent, particularly in France, than in the English-speaking world.

For what it's worth, this came #4 on my 70s ballot behind Il conformista and The Godfather: Part I & II, which are probably three of my all-time top five.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:27 pm 
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I think I last saw this film about seventeen or eighteen years ago. My local library had it on VHS (one
of the big ol' bulky tapes with the big reels).

I can't remember if it had the Italian soundtrack or if it had been dubbed into English, but
I do remember being very impressed with it at the time. It was a kind of chamber piece, with
a good deal of the film taking place in a small apartment.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:51 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:55 pm
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The only film I know of in which a man is not attracted to Sophia Loren.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm
Scola's We All Loved Each Other So Much is fantastic, so I'm looking forward to giving this one a look. Although the description makes it sound like a much more somber film.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:44 pm 
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Great News. I love this movie, but C'eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much) is even better. Much better, probably it's the best Italian film ever made since 8 1/2.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:01 pm 
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Scola is probably the best director of the 80s with an almost unbroken string of great films between 1977 and 1990. Badly underrepresented on DVD because he comes after the Golden Age of Italian Cinema. Hopefully this sells well enough for more of him. The film is also famous for Loren's best role.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:59 pm 
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I just finished watching this film courtesy of a very poor quality copy just arrived from Netflix. Getting past the sound and picture issues, I was impressed by the film's pace and tone. Having the constant interruptions from the celebratory radio blasts from the rally was a great device, keeping the two characters aware of their differences and positions even as they begin to speak without reservations. I don't even consider this a film that is too wordy, even considering it has few speaking roles, focusing nearly exclusively on Loren and Mastroianni. It is a great achievement to director Scola that the dialog nearly always felt realistic for the two main characters, hardly ever crossing into didactic political, philosophic or romantic musings while they end up discussing so many aspects to their lives. This film offers a great character study that never feels like it is treading into generalizations or exaggerations, as with the fascists in Fellini's "Amacord."

It will be interesting to hear in her own words what Sophia Loren has to say about the film; hopefully her interview sheds some light on the subtleties of her character that I did not pick up on not having been exposed to Fascisti housefraus often before.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:47 am 
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Another extra has been added:

-Human Voice, a 2014 short film starring Sophia Loren and directed by Edoardo Ponti


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:19 am 
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Minkin wrote:
Another extra has been added:

-Human Voice, a 2014 short film starring Sophia Loren and directed by Edoardo Ponti


This is from the Jean Cocteau play of the same name, "La Voix Humaine"... Rossellini's adaptation LA VOCE UMANA makes up the first half of his feature L'AMORE (the second is IL MIRACOLO), which can be found on the BFI's Rossellini/WAR TRILOGY set....


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:59 am 
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DVD Beaver.

I was surprised at the caps as I watched this a year or so back and had no idea it was intended to have that sort of look.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:37 pm 
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Indeed, very surprising!! I remember it looking like this (minus the fuzzy look): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OnGol57daE


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:20 am 
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The Italian DVD is kind of washed out, but absolutely nothing like the Crit caps. Needless to say, I have no idea which is faithful or anything.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:55 am 
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The faux faded partial sepia effect is very 1970's, almost reminiscent of George Roy Hill's THE STING, but looks very dated now as a method of framing a 'past reality', casting it in somewhat soft and sentimentalised focus, and resisting the hardness of straight black and white or the vividness of full colour...


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:21 pm 
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I've never even heard of this film in passing but it sounds utterly fascinating. And how can you go wrong with Marc and Sophia?


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:36 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
And how can you go wrong with Marc and Sophia?

Well, I'm not sure about the thoughts here on Prêt-à-Porter, but I'm sure many would use that to say there are no guarantees.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:41 pm 
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cdnchris wrote:
HerrSchreck wrote:
And how can you go wrong with Marc and Sophia?

Well, I'm not sure about the thoughts here on Prêt-à-Porter, but I'm sure many would use that to say there are no guarantees.


Never saw it . . . so maybe I spoke too soon. Pret a is a dud shot, eh?


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:50 pm 
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I haven't seen it in a long while and remember having very mixed feelings about it so it probably wouldn't be fair for me to comment too much: I just remember it being one of Altman's least interesting films and its structure being a mess. Not the fault of the actors, though; Loren and Mastroianni were fine, as was everyone else. It's been one I've been wanting to revisit and I wouldn't be surprised if it had its defenders now (not counting teenage boys who probably love the ending).

That being said, A Special Day sounds far more promising!


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:13 pm 
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One big problem with Prêt-à-Porter was that it kind of provided its own ready-made lazy critique in its running joke of every member of the ensemble cast treading in dog mess at some point! Even Mastroianni and Loren aren't immune from that! I seem to remember their scenes in the film being relatively short as well, certainly not given the screentime that the much more grating odd couple relationship of Tim Robbins and Julia Roberts got.


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:41 am 
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Basically the Loren-Mastroianni scene in PRET-A-PORTER is a reheated nod (with a fresh age-related twist) to their previous famous striptease scene together in De Sica's IERI, OGGI, DOMANI (1963)...


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:56 pm 
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Quote:
...not counting teenage boys who probably love the ending..


ummm...it's not just the teenage boys...


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 Post subject: Re: 778 A Special Day
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:23 am 
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I've seen numerous clips from A Special Day over the years (I also had a nth generation bootleg that was unwatchable) and its never looked like the Criterion, but by all accounts it's a faithful restoration of what the original prints looked like (ala Reflections in a Golden Eye). My first impression was that the look of this transfer was revisionist (like the DVD and subsequent blu of John Badham's 1979 Dracula), but apparently this is what A Special Day looked like theatrically in 1977 & all home video transfers until now were unsupervised and incorrect.


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