Profumo di donna

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  • R
  • 1974
  • 1 hr 43 min
  • 7.5  (5,092)

Profumo di donna is a 1974 Italian drama film directed by Dino Risi and stars Vittorio Gassman, Alessandro Momo, and Agostina Belli. Based on the novel Il buio e il miele by Giovanni Arpino, it tells the story of an army captain who is blinded during World War II and is bitter about his disability. He meets a young cadet who is facing expulsion from military school and offers to take him on a journey to Naples to live life to the fullest before he loses his sight completely.

The film is a poignant exploration of masculinity and disability, with a touching performance by Gassman as the captain, Fausto Consolo. Despite his blindness, Consolo remains a formidable figure, prone to outbursts of anger and frustration. He is bitter about losing his sight and lashes out at those around him, pushing away his wife and children as well as his caretaker. Yet, underneath his gruff exterior lies a deep vulnerability, a sense of loss and grief that he struggles to express.

Into this world comes the young cadet, Ciccio, played by the talented Alessandro Momo, in his breakout role. Ciccio is a young man on the verge of expulsion from military school, having been caught cheating on his exams. He is drawn to Consolo’s larger-than-life personality and agrees to accompany him on his journey to Naples. As they travel together, Ciccio learns to see the world differently, through Consolo’s eyes. He comes to understand that blindness need not be a barrier to living life to the fullest, and that there is beauty to be found in unexpected places.

Along the way, they encounter a cast of characters, from a beautiful and mysterious woman named Sara, played by Agostina Belli, to a group of rowdy teenagers. Each of these encounters presents a new challenge for Consolo and Ciccio, as they navigate the world together. There are moments of joy and moments of despair, as they confront the realities of disability and mortality.

One of the most memorable scenes in the film takes place in a dance hall, where Consolo and Ciccio find themselves surrounded by a group of young women. Despite his blindness, Consolo takes to the dance floor with gusto, moving with a grace and fluidity that belies his disability. It is a powerful moment, as the other dancers look on in awe, seeing the beauty and strength in this man who refuses to let his disability define him.

Throughout the film, Risi uses visual language to convey the sense of sight and its importance in our lives. He employs a variety of techniques, from close-ups of eyes to sequences shot in complete darkness, to create a sense of what it might be like to live without the ability to see. This is particularly effective in the film’s climactic scene, which takes place in a boat on the open sea. As the sun rises over the horizon, Consolo experiences a moment of transcendent beauty, a final glimpse of the world he is soon to leave behind.

In conclusion, Profumo di donna is a remarkable film, a moving exploration of disability, mortality, and the power of the human spirit. It is a testament to the talents of its director, Dino Risi, and its cast, particularly Vittorio Gassman, whose magnetic performance as Fausto Consolo is not to be missed. This film is a classic of Italian cinema and a must-see for anyone interested in the human condition.

Profumo di donna
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 43 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (5,092)