Monday, March 23, 2015

Go ahead, arrest me!

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is an anthology film by the great Italian director Vittorio De Sica consisting of three short stories starring the legendary Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. All three are huge names not only of Italian film, but cinema as a whole. I was exposed to De Sica and Mastroianni in college when I took an Italian Cinema class one semester and had the opportunity to view De Sica's The Bicycle Thief (still one of my favorite films) and Mastroianni in the classic 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini. I'm less familiar with Loren's work, even now, as most of my knowledge of her comes from pop culture osmosis.

With that said, I had a real great time seeing both Loren and Mastroianni in this film take on the different characters and relationship statuses. So without further a due, my best shot picks for each film segment...

Adelina of Naples

Here Loren plays Adelina who comically keeps getting pregnant to avoid jail time to the joy-turn-consternation of her husband Carmine played by Mastroianni. This segment is bustling with people in most of its frames from their neighbors of their close-knit community always willing to lend a hand to the seven or eight children they have. So my pick of best shot is of Loren's Adelina all alone in her cigarette-selling station (with two of her kids) after the other girls have fled for fear of the cops. Not only do I love this shot because of the great background of the ascending stairs, but also because it's wonderful seeing Adelina so steadfast in her taunting of the cops. So daring.

Anna of Milan

My least favorite segment features Loren and Mastroianni as a couple out on a drive. She plays Anna, rich and listless, and he plays Renzo, frustrated and hopeless. She's married to some unseen rich guy and who has paid for the Rolls Royce they're taking out for a spin. De Sica has some slick camera movements here giving this mostly driving, no-plot segment some of its momentum, but for the most part I wasn't a big fan. So it's probably why my pick of best shot was at the end with Renzo walking away from the wreckage (of the car, of his relationship) with flowers he bought from the boy in the background in tow. As the film fades to black, we see Renzo about to toss the flowers aside. Fleeting beauty.

Mara of Rome

The final segment takes place in Rome in a rooftop apartment overlooking the picturesque Piazza Navona where Loren plays a high-class escort named Mara and Mastroianni plays Rusconi, one of her clients. He's expecting to spend some quality time with her, but there's always something to get in the way. For her part, she meets and enchants Umberto (played by Gianni Ridolfi), a young priest-to-be who is visiting his grandparents who live in the apartment next to Mara's. For my best shot, I was tempted to choose a shot that displayed the effortless sexual appeal of Loren, the comical expressiveness of Mastroianni, or the gloriousness of the balcony set overlooking the Piazza Navona. Instead, I went with a shot of Umberto, cutting quite a striking figure in his priestly garments. In fact, Mara actually pauses from her gardening/singing to take it all in. Granted, she's most likely reacting to him being a priest more than anything, but I'd like to think she also saw something she liked. Wink wink.


  1. Great read! I only had time to squeeze in the short middle film. While I think I enjoyed it more than you did I am not surprised that it is the weakest of the three. Are the flowers Anna? Is he the one who has actually dome the scene's "throwing away"? I ask because I picked pretty much the same shot.

    1. I interpreted it as the flowers being Anna. Or maybe it's himself since he was also cast aside!

  2. that shot from "adelina" is so great (i picked the same one). i love the composition of it, how your eye just goes right to loren.

    1. Exactly! Even with her in the corner like that, everything about the shot makes you look at her. So good.


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