Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Ieri, oggi, domani) Reviews
What a delightful Italian comedy. Loren and Mastroianni are a classic pair, and each story allows them to explore a different facet of sexual chemistry. They rise to each challenge, and they're a delight to watch.
The first story, about a couple who squirts out babies in order to avoid debtors' prison, defies realism, but it allows Loren to strut and saunter her way around the world-weary, oversexed Mastroianni. The second story, about a man and woman escaping her husband for a weekend in the country, sets an adversarial relationship between the two Italian stars. The final story contains one of the most hilarious, off-the-wall seduction sequences I've ever seen, and Mastroianni howls his way into our hearts -- broad comedy at its best.
Overall, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is an Italian classic and a must-see.
I thought it was worth watching, especially for Sophia Loren fans.
In the first, Loren plays Adelina, a woman who feels more well when she is pregnant than when she is not. It's a very funny story about using pregnancy to avoid jail time. The segment is about some serious societal issues like private debt, collectors, not practicing birth control, the poor's ability to afford child care, and neighborhood charity. It is all presented in a humorous fashion. And this segment seems to contain the most of De Sica's neo-realist style.
In the second, Loren plays Anna in a short head-scratching bit that I felt pulled the whole movie down. Most of it is shot in a car and being so short the characters are not given the chance to develop much.
In the third, Loren plays Mara, a prostitute. Mastroianni is a wealthy, but childish, excitable client. An old woman lives next door and her grandson has come to visit before going away to school to become a priest. He innocently falls for Mara with no idea of what she is and changes his mind about going to seminary. Mara and the old woman exchange angry words and then eventually arrange a deal. If she can help convince the young man to still go away to become a priest, she will be abstinent for a week. Mastroianni keeps on being interrupted in his sessions with Mara and is just along for the ride. This segment is also rather funny at times.
What's amazing is Bunuel's "respectable" treatment of this material. His cool and discrete approach brillantly contrasts with the frustrated sexual lives and fantasies we see on the screen. Brief nudity, no explicit sexual scenes, everything is done through inference and association. And what associations! Bunuel's playful surrealism is in full force here - witness the mysterious box - and his cast brings this eroticized world to life (along with Deneuve, the best performance comes from Genevieve Page as the most refined house madam you'll ever see). "Belle de Jour" is masterful piece of latter-day surrealism: it's a wonderful demonstration of the emotional anarchy at the root of sexual longing and the particularly tortured outlets people use to satisfy their needs. And yet the whole enterprise is discreetly charming - it's light at heart. This has to be the most elegantly dirty movie ever made.