The Pizza Triangle

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"The story of a woman who was completely faithful... to two men"
  • R
  • 1970
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 7.1  (2,182)

The Pizza Triangle, also known as "Dramma della gelosia" (The Drama of Jealousy) in Italian, is a classic 1970 Italian film directed by the accomplished filmmaker Ettore Scola. This film stands out as a blend of comedy, drama, and romance, with undertones of social and political commentary typical for Scola's works. Starring three giants of Italian cinema—Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti, and Giancarlo Giannini—the movie delves into the intricacies of a peculiar love triangle that takes place amid the bustling life of Rome.

Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political ferment of late 1960s Italy, The Pizza Triangle portrays the story of a hapless yet charming construction worker, Mario, played by Marcello Mastroianni. Mario is a middle-aged, simple man who spends his days toiling at construction sites and his evenings escorting marchers at political demonstrations, hinting at the era's charged atmosphere.

One day, Mario's uneventful life is turned upside down when he encounters the vivacious and impulsive Adriana, portrayed by the incomparable Monica Vitti. Adriana works as a pizza-maker at a local pizzeria, and her energy and charisma captivate Mario. Despite the differences in their age and temperament, the two begin a passionate affair, bringing a whirlwind of emotion into their routine lives.

Their romance, however, takes a complicated turn when a young, idealistic and ambitious communist named Antonio enters the picture, creatively embodied by the talented Giancarlo Giannini. The youthful Antonio also works in construction, and his vibrant intellectualism and outspoken personality form a stark contrast to Mario's more subdued and pragmatic nature.

As the narrative unfolds, what begins as camaraderie between Mario and Antonio soon transforms into rivalry as they both fall deeply in love with Adriana. She finds herself at the center of this complex and volatile love triangle, a situation that is as amusing as it is wrenching. The film expertly navigates between moments of pure comedy and intense drama as the three characters grapple with their feelings and the repercussions of their entanglements.

Ettore Scola directs The Pizza Triangle with a deft hand, balancing the film's emotional tones and offering a satirical look at the characters' personal strife against the larger societal issues of the time. While Mario, Adriana, and Antonio's love triangle spirals into increasingly absurd scenarios, the film also addresses themes such as class struggle, political involvement, and the dissection of social norms, elements that Scola frequently explored in his body of work.

Thanks to the combined talents of Mastroianni, Vitti, and Giannini, The Pizza Triangle is elevated from a mere farcical love story to a poignant exploration of human desire, jealousy, and the pursuit of happiness. Mastroianni, well-known for his roles as the archetypal Latin lover, brings an unlikely tenderness and vulnerability to his character, while Vitti's portrayal of Adriana is both enchanting and heart-rending. Giannini's turn as the intense and fervent Antonio provides the perfect counterbalance to his co-stars, firmly establishing the interplay of various emotional landscapes that characterizes the film.

The visual language of the film adds another layer of depth to the story, as Scola employs a vibrant palette and dynamic camera work that reflects the chaotic and passionate nature of the relationships depicted. The bustling streets of Rome are not just a background to the characters' personal drama, but an active participant in their story, providing context and contrast to their subjective experiences.

The Pizza Triangle struck a chord with audiences, who found in it a unique combination of wit, humor, and emotional truth. Its portrayal of love and jealousy, set amidst the quirky societal quirks of the era, offered an introspective yet entertaining take on the complexities of romantic relationships.

The film was well-received by critics, who praised the performances of the lead actors and Scola’s skillful direction. It garnered several nominations and awards, further cementing its status as a memorable entry in the canon of Italian dark comedies. While the movie might resonate with a nostalgic remembrance for the tumultuous period it represents, its themes remain timeless and universally relatable.

On a cultural note, The Pizza Triangle's satirical edge echoes the broader comedic traditions of Italian cinema, notably the Commedia all'Italiana genre, through its social commentary and the way it balances between extolling and critiquing its characters. With its compelling narrative and remarkable cast, the film endures as a fascinating time capsule of its period, a poignant love story, and a testament to the enduring talent of its storied director and actors.

The Pizza Triangle
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (2,182)