Il Sorpasso (1962)

Il Sorpasso  
Directed by Dino Risi
Written by Dino Risi, Ettore Scola, and Ruggero Maccarri
Incei Film/Sancro Film/Fair Film
First viewing/Netflix rental

Bruno Cortona: Put this one on. Its Modugno. Poetry doesn’t do much for me. I like music. This song’s really great. Mystical. Really gets you thinking. Ah, music. I really like Modugno. This song really drives me crazy. It seems so simple, but it’s got everything – – loneliness, inability to communicate, and that stuff that’s all the rage now – – alienation, like in Antonioni’s films. Did you see “L’eclisse”?

Roberto Mariani: Yes

Bruno Cortona: I fell asleep. Had a nice nap. Great director, Antonioni. I saw him in his Flaminia Zagato once. I couldn’t stop gawking.

This is sort of a road movie in which a free-spirited Roman braggart drives a shy law student around the city and its environs.  Your opinion of the film will likely depend on your opinion of the braggart.  I couldn’t stand him.

The story begin when Bruno Cortona (Vittorio Gassman) talks his way into the apartment of law student Roberto Mariani to make a phone call.  It is a major holiday and the streets of Rome are deserted.  Bruno is not able to reach the people he was supposed to catch up with so he suggests that Roberto accompany him.  Roberto had set aside the time for studying but allows himself to be persuaded.  At first the idea is that the two will share a meal.  But once Bruno has Roberto in his clutches he decides that he must stay for the whole adventure.

Bruno is one of the least considerate most irresponsible drivers in movies.  He delights in driving at high speeds and feels compelled to pass anyone in front of him.  He also enjoys making insulting remarks and chatting up women.  Slowly Robert comes to admire Bruno’s life style and begins to loosen up a little himself.

I think the filmmakers mean us to believe Bruno has an admirable spontaneity and freedom that Roberto if not ourselves should immulate.  I disliked him thoroughly.  The ending of this film comes out of nowhere. It didn’t make me like the movie any more than I had but it made sense.

Opening Credits