Mastroianni daringly subverts his suave, Euro-lover image in this caustic, black-comic critique of church, state, and masculinity. He stars as a handsome, seemingly irresistible ladies’ man, who, behind his carefully cultivated playboy image, is concealing a secret shame: he is, in fact, impotent. When word of his condition gets out, it sends everyone around him—including his parents, in-laws, priest, and new wife (Claudia Cardinale)—into an existential panic. Scripted by arch iconoclast Pier Paolo Pasolini, Il bell’Antonio plays on the knife’s edge of satire and florid melodrama—all leading to a profoundly ironic ending worthy of Sirk. 35mm print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
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