Luigi Pirandello’s masterful hall-of-mirrors tragicomedy receives a shrewd screen adaptation, featuring Mastroianni at his dynamic best. He relishes the role of an aristocratic 20th-century madman who has lived under the decades-long delusion that he is the titular Holy Roman Emperor. When he receives a visit from a group of old acquaintances, including his former paramour (Claudia Cardinale), it disrupts his carefully cultivated fantasy. Of course, this being Pirandello, all is not as it seems… Probing themes of madness vs. sanity, truth vs. illusion, Henry IV toys brilliantly with the slippery nature of reality. The rhapsodic, tango-inflected score is courtesy of Argentine master composer Astor Piazzolla. 35mm print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
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