Foreign Flings

Pietro Germi’s Divorce, Italian Style (1961) is clearly the comic sensation of the recently concluded Pietro Germi retrospective at Film Forum, and is having its own two-week run from Nov. 9 to Nov. 22. Marcello Mastroianni, fresh from his somber triumph as the decadent self-loathing journalist in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), demonstrates a brilliant comedy style as a down-at-the-heels Sicilian baron unhappily married to a plump, slightly fuzzy-lipped wife (Daniela Rocca) while he is completely infatuated with his beautiful teenage cousin (Stefania Sandrelli) just across the courtyard. Since divorce is virtually inconceivable in Sicily, and capital crimes of passion and jealousy are very lightly punished, the baron hits upon a scheme to seem humiliated enough by his wife’s opportune affair with an old admirer (the cross-eyed Leopoldo Trieste) to the extent that he is virtually expected to kill them both. It is a cruel satire on Sicilian mores, with Mastroianni hilarious in his stratagems and smug self-satisfaction, getting most of the laughs all the way to the film’s richly ironic ending.

Ingmar Bergman’s Sommaren med Monika (1953), with Harriet Andersson, will be shown at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street, for a two-week engagement beginning Wednesday, Nov. 14. This is the first of nine films the former stripper Harriet Andersson made with Bergman, and one of the most sensual. Her long, cinematic close-up in which she seems to stare directly at the audience, almost daring it to pass judgment on her behavior, is alone worth the price of admission.