Raffaello Matarazzo’s last great melodrama, starring Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson.
A film that closes one circle, but opens up many possibilities.
Malinconico autunno closes a circle: nine years after Catene, it is the last Raffaello Matarazzo film to feature Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson, the star couple that transformed melodramatic cinema. However, it is by no means a rehash of tried and tested formulas. Here, the burning passions of old give way to simpler, more demure tones, and to that sense of autumnal melancholy alluded to by the title. One of Matarazzo’s most fervent supporters, critic Sergio Germani, defined it: “A great uprooted film”, a clear reference to the necessity of family ties. And yet it is a film that defies obvious classification, as it spreads crises, doubts, false leads and shadows in its wake. The film closes one circle but opens many more.
In Barcelona, young Luca, whose father is dead and whose mother works every hour the day sends her, is accused of vandalising the primary school he attends. Andrea, a sailor with a turbulent past, offers to get the boy out of trouble by paying for the damage. Luca’s mother, who although poor is full of dignity, makes her son promise to pay the man back. Unbeknownst to anyone, the young boy boards a ship about to set sail. During the voyage, the bonds of affection between Luca and Andrea get ever stronger. When the ship returns to port, the sailor falls in love with Luca’s mother. Before forming a new family, however, he will have to face up to his past.