As you count down the dwindling days on your summer fling, it’s perfectly natural to feel a melancholy twinge. The Italians have a word for it: Ciao. (As in, “It was nice, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”) Snap out of that fleeting funk with the six moody variations comprising Love in the City (L'amore in città), a long-unseen 1953 omnibus film tinged with longing, loss, lust, and a demitasse of love. Half a dozen male directors examine a variety of postwar, pre-feminism situations from a woman’s perspective that is, somewhat surprisingly, pragmatic rather than romantic. Cesare Zavattini’s study of a poor single mother’s dignity-snuffing routine is an unabashed nod to social-issue neorealism, while Michelangelo Antonioni’s calibrated gaze at women who survived suicide attempts anticipates his masterpieces of urban alienation. A less enlightened gaze -- the ogling leers of shameless men -- propels Alberto Lattuada’s segment. Thankfully, Federico Fellini leavens the proceedings with a satiric vignette about an innocent girl’s visit to a marriage agency. See how lucky you are? All you have to do is strike another match, go start anew.
Tue., Aug. 21, 2012