At the center of Pietro Germi’s 1963 film, Seduced and Abandoned, is honor. More specifically, the film is about how a dominant father can restore his family’s honor after his daughter betrays it through sexual infidelity. It’s about sexual repression and the mores of old Italy.
Seduced and Abandoned
At the center of Pietro Germi’s 1963 film, Seduced and Abandoned, is honor.
More specifically, the film is about how a dominant father can restore his family’s honor after his daughter betrays it through sexual infidelity. It’s about sexual repression and the mores of old Italy.
Germi’s dark satiric eye is everywhere in this film, and his work is both hilarious and thought provoking.
Germi started his directorial career as one of the early Italian neo-realists–a group that refused Hollywood’s glamorization of life. Germi’s films during this era were dramas focusing on modern Italian life. Soon after, he moved from drama to comedic satire. His mode of storytelling changed, but he took with him neo-realism and an obsession with Italian culture.
The most prominent of these satires is Divorce, Italian Style, winner of a 1961 Academy Award for best writing, and it earned nominations for best director and best actor. The film centered on the old Italy ban on divorce–a theme that predicts Seduced and Abandoned social satire.
In earlier times Italy had a law stating that the crimes of rape and corruption of a minor could be annulled by marriage. After the controlling father, Don Ascalone, discovers Agnese’s infidelities with her future brother-in-law, he tries to use this law to save his family’s honor. He tells Peppino (the man in this scenario) to dump one daughter and to agree to marry the 16-year-old Agnese.
Don’s quest to save face leads the story through a madcap journey with many twists. Don Ascalone chases prostitutes, and claims a real man should ejaculate once a day.
But even the slightest hint of sexuality from his four daughters sends him into a rage. His own overt sexuality causes him to be vigilant in protecting his daughters’ fidelity–subjecting them to virginity tests and limiting time spent alone with gentlemen to only three minutes. In his world men are allowed promiscuity, while women must be swallowed by guilt. This theme still resonates today.
Seduced and Abandoned stands on its own as a classic because of its sharp satiric writing and the director’s ability to use incidental sound and action to supplement character emotion. It is a vital look into Italian life, a culture that today, seems both strange and familiar.
Seduced and Abandoned is playing at the Whitsell Auditorium Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., as well as Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
The Monks were a rock ‘n’ roll band, but in their short career they threw out the conventions of the genre. They also dressed like monks, even shaving bald spots on their heads. They were championed as the anti-Beatles.
Although there is no evidence Lou Reed and company ripped off The Monks, it seems the band definitely foresaw many of the same elements made famous by The Velvet Underground, namely minimalism, a driving, primal drumbeat, and distortions and dissonance being used over melody. The Monks, in short, were far ahead of their time.
The documentary Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback, part of Northwest Film Center’s Reel Music Festival, explores the band’s interesting formation (they started as a military band) and their brief history.
The film also discusses the band’s reunion show in New York City in 1999–their first and only show in America. It’s a valuable documentary, showing us a band that should be part of our pop-music canon.
Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback is playing Sunday at 7:15 p.m. in the Whitsell Auditorium.