The Italian that did not exist was interpreted as a Frenchman. The meek, loyal Italian, crushed by the vehemence of others, mythomania, histrionics, Italianness. No one was as good at being an anti-Italian like Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Yes, we should talk about Amour, perhaps the only film of his that says something to the living in an era that has no memory: we will not expect the public to know the filmographies of when there was the lira, come on. (To those who were alive in the last century, Amour seems the elegant version of Betty Blue, one of the kitsch reference points of every twentieth-century formation).
Or maybe we should talk about A man, a woman, the sentimentality that everyone liked, intellectuals and housewives, the Casablanca of color cinema, the love story that wasn’t there but that we all wanted.
Having never understood something, perhaps we should mention The Conformist, but unfortunately the only thing that has never been clear to me about that film is how wonderful Sandrelli’s clothes were.
It would be useless to ask how you survive a daughter who dies like this, beaten to death by the guy she’s with, a torment that is impossible to imagine, one of those things in front of which you are ashamed to say circumstantial phrases such as “I know what try »: he had already given the answer, it was the title of his autobiography. I finally decided to live.
The real truth is that what Trintignant was most precious in was portraying what we are not, what we didn’t know and don’t know how to be. Whether it was in masterpieces such as Il sorpasso or La Terrazza, or in minor titles that tried to milk proven successful couples (The success, in fact), Trintignant was like no one the meek oppressed by the scoundrel. They were Italian characters, written by Italian screenwriters, and thought of as Italians. But they were so antithetical to the Italian character that it took a foreigner to give them body.
The overtaking student, so shy that to get to know him you needed the voiceover: you needed to hear his thoughts as he meditated to escape the intrusiveness of Vittorio Gassman who appeared on the street and, turning to the window, ended up monopolizing his day (and killing him, either said without getting upset accusing me of having revealed the ending of a film from sixty years ago).
He was planning rebellions, Roberto whose surname Bruno Cortona did not deign to learn, which he never carried out. He was someone who stayed at home studying in August, and found himself at the mercy of someone who did not know what the sense of duty was, who did not know what reliability was, who did not know what superego was. Of an Italian.
Could Mastroianni have done it? Perhaps of all those there he was the only one who would have been thinkable as mild; but the real truth is that, at its best, Italian cinema was made up of Italians, Sordi, Tognazzi, Gassman: perfect incarnations of mythomaniacs.
There is a scene in the Success, a short film with which Risi tried to milk the success of the Sorpasso, in which Trintignant does not pull with the girl he likes. Gassman brings him two whores, and Trintignant doesn’t even shoot with them. Of course Deaf could have done someone he doesn’t like (what is The Widower, if not a continuous allegory of the man he doesn’t pull?), But you would never have been fond of him, you would never have loved him, he would not have had that candor, that fragility.
That meekness also in the anger with which, in the Sunday Woman, she asks Anna Carla Dosio if she and Massimo never tire of being very intelligent (and we can glimpse an anniversary: the most Turin of Turin played her by Jacqueline Bisset, a French ).
My favorite Trintignant is the one in my favorite film, in the years in which the golden age of Italian comedy was going to decline. It was 1980, and in the Terrace (it’s on RaiPlay, drop this article and go see it) everyone knew each other, they all went to the same dinners, everyone made everyone’s life hell.
Most at the mercy of all was Trintignant, a screenwriter to whom the producer played by Ugo Tognazzi obsessively asked, about the film he was writing, “Is it funny?”. No one who writes by trade, but also no one who is not completely obtuse, after having seen The Terrace will never again hear the question “Is it funny?” without finding it the most distressing of questions.
It is not that the tragic is missing in the Terrace – there is even an anorexic Rai official who lets himself die – or the grotesque – Tognazzi is treated like the son of the servant by his wife, and dyes his hair with a desperation that sees the men of the future and paints them mercilessly – but Trintignant is something else. Trintignant – I am going to spoil the surprise of a film from forty-two years ago – takes the electric pencil sharpener and grinds his hand, for the desperation of the white sheet, of the delivery that he fails to respect, of the superego that fails to be like this Italian not to have.
It is the same character who in the same film said to his son “Don’t do shit, don’t study, don’t work, so much is dad thinking about it: but dad is bored!”, And he replied “Dad, I’m two years that I work in a bank ». Since, as Gassman always said in that film, and summarizing those years of Italian cinema better than critics ever could, “We are all like this now: dramatic characters who manifest themselves only comically”.
But with that fragility there, with that bewilderment there, with that air of someone who is in a corner, certainly not because you notice him more, so only a foreigner on loan could do it.
#Maverick #antiItalian #JeanLouis #Trintignant #Linkiestait