I Girasoli

I Girasoli

Sunflower

Blu-ray Disc | Italian
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Mere days after marrying Giovanna, Antonio is called to the Russian front to fight for the Italian forces. Years after Antonio is reported missing in action, Giovanna travels to Russia to learn what happened to him, only to discover that he is alive. Their reunion is bittersweet, however, as Antonio has married another woman.

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Nursebob
Oct 18, 2017

There’s an element of simple human warmth which runs through Vittorio De Sica’s bittersweet film that saves it from becoming just another two-hankie weeper—and the combined star power of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni doesn’t hurt either. Told mainly in flashbacks De Sica starts off on a playful note with Antonio and Giovanna devising one harebrained scheme after another to keep him from being conscripted, their romantic entanglements given a wistful air by Henry Mancini’s melancholy score. But as an angry Giovanna tries to discover what became of her man the tone turns darker as De Sica avoids hysterical emoting to prove you can convey more pathos through a simple curve of the lip or a heavy silence---and Loren’s expressive beauty is more than up for the task. A sombre montage of battlefield brutality culled from the memories of the last soldier to see Antonio delivers an anti-war message while the film’s powerful closing shots remind us, somewhat emphatically, that despite our hearts’ most fervent desires life plays out according to its own rules. Beautifully filmed throughout, De Sica gives us one of cinema’s most poignant scenes as a determined Giovanna wanders through a rustic cemetery whose makeshift crosses stretch towards the sky.

a
akirakato
Mar 11, 2013

Giovanna (Sophia Loren) and Antonio (Marcello Mastroianni) get married to delay Antonio's deployment during World War II.
This event buys them twelve days of happiness.
After this, they try another scheme, in which Antonio pretends to be a crazy man, but to no avail.
Finally, Antonio is sent to the Russian Front.
When the war is over, Antonio does not return and is listed as missing in action.
Despite the odds, Giovanna is convinced her true love has survived the war and is still in Russia.
Determined, she journeys to Russia to find him.

After a lengthy search, Giovanna eventually finds Antonio, but by now he has started a second family with a woman who saved his life, and they have one daughter.
Childless, having been faithful to her husband, Giovanna returns to Italy, heartbroken, but unwilling to disrupt her love's new life.
Some years later, Antonio returns to Giovanna, asking her to come back with him to Russia.
Meanwhile, Giovanna has tried to move on with her own life, moving out of their first home together and into her own apartment.
She has started dating again, has given birth to a baby boy, and is living as a single parent.
He explains his new life, how war changes a man, how safe he felt with his new woman.
Unwilling to ruin Antonio's daughter's or her own new son's life, Giovanna refuses to leave Italy.
As they part, Antonio gives her a fur, which he had promised years before that he'd bring back for her.
The lovers lock eyes as Antonio's train takes him away from Giovanna, and from Italy, forever.
At this point you would probably get drowned in your own tears as Henry Mancini's theme music would wrench your heart.

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