Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Masterly Mafioso

ImageMafioso (Criterion)
Alberto Lattuada is an unsung Italian master best known for co-directing Fellini’s first feature, Variety Lights, yet his other films show an auteur in complete control of his material. Mafioso is unclassifiable: It’s at once a domestic comedy, a satire of Italian differences (north vs. south), and a drama about the Mafia’s “honorable” tradition, as Lattuada effortlessly shifts the tone from humor to horror and back. Alberto Sordi gives one of his greatest performances as the husband who takes his wife and kids home to meet his Sicilian family, only to again get caught up in their traditional ways. Much more than a knowing glimpse at Italian sub-culture, Mafioso is a masterly demonstration of Lattuada’s forgotten genius. EXTRAS: 1996 interview with Lattuada; new interviews with his wife and son.

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