Allonsanfan (1973): Taviani Brothers’ Tale of Radicalism, Starring Marcello Mastroianni

In “Allonsanfan,” the directors-writers-brothers Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani present a touching tale of 19th century radicalism in Italy.

Marcello Mastroianni, then at the height of his international popularity, stars as Fulvio, a middle-aged man caught up in a extremist political movement. The more he protests that he wants no part of politics, the deeper he becomes involved.

Mastroianni had said that “Allonsanfan” is a companion piece to his 1963 “The Organizer,” made right after Fellini’s masterpiece, “81/2,” in which he plays a radical political man.

The feature’s title refers to the spelling of “Alons enfants,” the first two words of the French “Marseillaise”.

The two main female parts are played by Lea Massari (the girl who disappears in Antonioni’s “L’Avventura”) and Laura Betti, an excellent Italian character actress (Pasolini’s “Teorema,” among others).

My favorite film by the gifted brothers is “Padre Padrone,” directed by them in 1979.  Based on an autobiographical book by Gavino Ledda, “Padre Padrone” is the tale of a sad, illiterate boy from Sardinia.  Brutalized and victimized by his peasant father, he still grows up to master Greek and Latin and become a famous writer.

 

Credits

Running time: 100 Minutes.