A film that anticipates the great commedia all’italiana genre
A scathing comedy that tackles hypocrisy and respectability, a carousel of great performances from a wonderful cast
Full of narrative freshness and an indignation that still retains all its power
La spiaggia is a scathing portrait of bourgeois hypocrisy. The film anticipates the soon to arrive commedia all’italiana genre, of which Rodolfo Sonego will become a star: here he is the main screenwriter. Featuring fantastic comedy dialogue and a carousel of great performances from a wonderful cast, all beautifully handled by Lattuada, the film also functions as a documentary cross-section of Italy on holiday (the Ligurian Riviera). Over time, La spiaggia hasn’t lost any of its bite: “It is an extraordinary film that retains all its freshness upon repeated viewings: the surprising plot twist, the primitive sense of indignation, the bitterness of the finale”, writes critic Lorenzo Pellizzari. Given the theme, the film was attacked by the censor, cutting overly generous bikinis (especially those worn by Valeria Moriconi) and overly explicit references to politics and sex. Martine Carol, that icon of French sensuality, plays a sensitive prostitute, the like of which has rarely ever been seen on screen. Cineteca di Bologna rediscovered the scenes cut from the Italian version in a copy of the version released in France,
In a luxury hotel in a seaside resort, the discovery that a distinguished lady holidaying with her daughter is actually a prostitute causes a huge scandal. Everyone shuns the woman, until a rich man offers her his arm and goes for a walk with her. All moralistic prejudices are then banned.