I mostri

Watch I mostri

  • NR
  • 1963
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • 7.4  (2,779)

I mostri, a 1963 Italian anthology comedy film, is an incisive social satire that comprises a series of vignettes, unearthing the hypocrisies and idiosyncrasies of Italian society in the 1960s. Directed by the talented Dino Risi, the film stars two of the era's most prominent Italian actors: Ugo Tognazzi and Vittorio Gassman. Their exceptional versatility is on display as they portray various characters across different shorts, sharply commenting on the human condition and the monstrosity residing in everyday life.

The film is structured as a series of episodic sketches, 20 in total, each one exploring different types of "monsters" or flawed individuals that populate the contemporary cultural landscape of Italy. These can range from vain socialites to opportunistic businessmen, from manipulative media figures to self-centered artists. Risi uses these stories to provide a panoramic view of Italian society, pulling back the curtain on the charming veneer of Italy to reveal the less savory aspects of its character with a comedic yet critical eye.

Through the vignettes, the audience witnesses settings that are as diverse as the characters themselves, from the lavish living rooms of the rich to the humble abodes of the common folk, each environment serving as a reflection of the various strata of Italian society. Risi employs sharp comedy juxtaposed with stinging social critique, embarking on an anthropological journey through the array of Italian "monsters."

Ugo Tognazzi and Vittorio Gassman bring a certain chameleon-like adaptability to the project, effortlessly shifting from one character to another. They may play friends, foes, or strangers in different tales, but their performances are consistently imbued with a mix of charisma, cynicism, and depth. Sometimes they team up in the same story, other times they appear separately, and in certain tales, they might even appear in multiple roles, showcasing an impressive range that both amuses and disturbs the viewer.

Lando Buzzanca, although less prominent than the main stars, also brings an important contribution to the film with his own flair for comedy. He complements the satirical nature of the film and adds to the rich tapestry of characters depicted throughout the various sketches.

The sketches themselves touch upon universal themes such as greed, pride, lust, and power. They also delve into topics that were particularly poignant to the 60s Italian context, such as the class divide, the changing gender dynamics, traditional vs. modern values, and the influence of media on public opinion. Risi uses humor as his weapon, revealing uncomfortable truths about human nature and the societal norms that govern behavior.

The film's title, I mostri, which translates to The Monsters, is a nod not to the mythical or supernatural creatures of fantasy but to the metaphorical monsters that don the mask of normality. Each segment peels away layers of the proverbial onion, exposing the monstrous facets of individuals who might otherwise seem ordinary or respectable. The genius of Risi’s direction lies in his ability to let the audience laugh at these exaggerated caricatures, only to leave them pondering their own complicity or resemblance to these characters.

Equally important to the storytelling is the cinematography and the music. The visual style captures the era beautifully, with the creators paying close attention to costumes, set designs, and the capturing of expressions and physical comedy that the stories hinge upon. The music often complements the stories' mood, ranging from playful to ironic, accentuating the actions without overpowering the narrative.

I mostri is celebrated not only for its comedic strength but also for the depth of its social commentary. It's a film that serves as a mirror to the audience, one that reflects not just the context of 60s Italy but the enduring vices and follies of human beings. It has a timeless quality due to its exploration of the moral and ethical failings that are universal.

Critics and audiences have often interpreted the film as a series of cautionary tales warning of the various faces of human ugliness, and an invitation to self-examination. It also stands as an example of the Commedia all'italiana genre, a blend of comedy and drama popular in Italy during the mid-twentieth century, which often highlighted social issues in a comedic form.

I mostri remains a landmark in Italian cinema, earning its place as a classic through its incisive wit and insightful observations. It is a film that entertains, enlightens, and provokes, providing viewers with a rich, layered experience that resonates across time and cultures.

I mostri
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 55 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (2,779)