Set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi, Jean Renoir’s ravishing, sumptuous tribute to the theatre involves a viceroy who receives an exquisite golden coach and gives it to the tempestuous star of a touring commedia dell’arte company (the vivacious Anna Magnani).
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While I admire it's theme of selflessness, my issue is that I never once believed the romance between Anna Magnani and any of her three lovers. The bullfighter and the her first lover left barely an impression and Don Antonio just felt like another jaded aristocrat character. Sadly, I also didn't think Anna herself was all that great as she was mostly mopey and rarely exuded a sense of passion for life and people.
A complex masterpiece, masquerading as a light and comic period piece. Truffaut nails it when he called it "The noblest and most refined film ever made...a film about theatre in the theatre". I wish that "The Golden Coach" and Renoir's "The River" were as known as some of his earlier films, both are incredibly beautiful works of art.
Commedia de'll arte as a carrier of the war-ravaged remains of the European ludic spirit – strikingly personified here by Magnani. A need for spiritual freedom expressed through non-commiting to a central idea. Playfulness as antidote to a profound sense of dislocation – similar to Italo Calvino's writing at the time, and inspiring Truffaut & Co. Delightful visuals, a joy throughout.
A trio of men are inexplicably drawn to actress Camilla. They woo. They court. There are moments of screwball comedy shenanigans. There is a message about social status and power tied up with the fate of a schmancy coach. (The opening and closing seem to be old school 3D. I don't think the theater where I saw the movie was aware of this so no glasses were offered and the projectionist kept trying to focus the film.)
"Actors, how shocking!" Visual splendor, vivacious storytelling and vivid emotion. All in glorious technicolor! A digestible social commentary about cultural boundaries wrapped in drama akin to the traveling troupe. The juxtaposition of visual design between shots is mesmerizing; each composition is layered, yet poignant -must be a genetic disposition. Allen and Almodovar took notes on this one, I'm sure.