L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City) (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 30, 2014 by  


Fans of Italian cinema or Italian Neo-Realism will enjoy “L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)”.  While only one film from this project was created, “L’Amore in Citta” is a fascinating time stamp of Italian culture in the 1950’s and one of the more enjoyable “love” anthologies to feature multiple filmmakers.  Entertaining and recommended!

Images courtesy of © Rarovideo 2014. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)


DURATION: 105 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 4:3 Letterbox, Italian Linear PCM Dual Mono, Subtitles in English

COMPANY: Raro Video

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: July 22, 2014

Directed by

Michelangelo Antonioni (segment “Tentato suicido”)

Federico Fellini (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Alberto Lattuada (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Carlo Lizzani (segment “Amore che si paga, L'”)

Francesco Maselli (segment “Storia di Caterina”)

Dino Risi (segment “Paradiso per 3 ore”)

Cesare Zavattini (segment “Storia di Caterina”)

Written by

Michelangelo Antonioni (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Aldo Buzzi (segments “Tentato suicidio”, “Gli Italiani si voltano”, “Amore che si paga, L'”, “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Luigi Chiarini (segments “Tentato suicidio”, “Gli Italiani si voltano”, “Amore che si paga, L'”)

Federico Fellini (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Marco Ferreri (segment “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Alberto Lattuada (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Luigi Malerba (segments “Tentato suicidio”, “Gli Italiani si voltano”, “Amore che si paga, L'”, “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Tullio Pinelli (segments “Tentato suicidio”, “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”, “Italiani si voltano, Gli”, “Amore che si paga, L'”, “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Dino Risi (segment “Amore che si paga, L'”), (story) (segment “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Vittorio Veltroni (segments “Tentato suicidio”, “Gli Italiani si voltano”, “Amore che si paga, L'”, “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Cesare Zavattini (segments “Tentato suicidio”, “Gli Italiani si voltano”, “Storia di Caterina”, “Amore che si paga, L'”, “Paradiso per 4 ore”)

Produced by Marco Ferreri, Riccardo Ghione

Associate Producer: Cesare Zavattini

Music by Mario Nascimbene

Cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo

Edited by Eraldo Da Roma

Production Design by Gianni Polidori


Rita Josa (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Rosanna Carta (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Enrico Pelliccia (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Donatella Marrosu (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Paolo Pacetti (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Nella Bertuccioni (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Lilia Nardi (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Lena Rossi (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Maria Nobili (segment “Tentato suicidio”)

Antonio Cifariello – Giornalista (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Livia Venturini (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Maresa Gallo (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Angela Pierro (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Rita Andreana (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Lia Natali (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Cristina Grado (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Ilario Malaschini (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Sue Ellen Blake (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Silvio Lillo (segment “Agenzia matrimoniale, Un'”)

Caterina Rigoglioso (segment “Storia di Caterina”)

Mara Berni (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Valeria Moriconi (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Giovanna Ralli (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Ugo Tognazzi (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Patrizia Lari (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Raimondo Vianello (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Edda Evangelista (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Liana Poggiali (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Marisa Valenti (segment “Gli Italiani si voltano”)

Maria Pia Trepaoli (segment “Italiani si voltano, Gli”)

Marco Ferreri (segment “Gli Italiani si voltano”)

Mario Bonotti (segment “Gli Italiani si voltano”)

Seven top Italian filmmakers pooled their talents on the omnibus “reality” feature Amore in Citta Love in the City. The film is divided into six separate episodes; the first of these, “Paid Love,” is a straightforward study of prostitution written and directed by Carlo Lizzani. In the second, Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Attempted Suicide,” several would-be suicides discuss the reasons for their despair. Dino Risi’s “Paradise for Four Hours” is a humorous glance at a provincial dance hall. Federico Fellini’s “Marriage Agency” finds an investigative reporter posing as a husband-to-be. Cesara Zavattini and Umberto Maselli’s “Story of Caterina” dramatizes the true story of a young unwed mother. And “Italians Stare,” written and directed by Alberto Lattuada, illustrates the various “girl-watching” techniques of Italian males. Among the actors participating in the six vignettes are Ugo Tognazzi, Maressa Gallo, and Caterina Riogoglioso. Originally intended as the first installment in a “movie magazine” titled “The Spectator,” Amore in Citta was released at 110 minutes; most American prints are bereft of the opening “Paid Love” segment.

In 1953, filmmaker Cesare Zavattini wanted to create a film project to capture reality.

The original plan was to create a six-monthly film journal titled “Lo Spettatore” (The Spector) and kick off with the first project titled “L’Amore in Citta” (Love in the City).

Produced by Zavattini, Riccardo Ghione and Marco Ferreri, the film did poorly and Zavattini’s project ended.

But decades later, for cinema fans, “L’Amore in Citta” is one of those rare Italian neo-realism films that would bring together various filmmakers for six short vignettes on various aspects of love and sex.  What Zavattini wanted to accomplish was to get different (young) filmmakers at the time, who brought different perspectives for his project.

The film would feature the work of Carlo Lizzani, Michelangelo Antonioni, Dino Risi, Federico Fellini, Francesco Maselli and Cesare Zavattini and Alberto Lattuada.

And now, “L’Amore in Citta” (Love in the City) has been released on Blu-ray courtesy of Raro Video.

“L’Amore in Citta” kicks off with an eleven minute short film by director Carlo Lizzani showcasing different types of love in Italian society.  The following 22-minute short film titled “Attempted Suicide” is directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and revolves around various women who fell in love and had their hearts broken and thus, tried to kill themselves.

The 12-minute short film titled “Paradise for Three Hours” and is directed by Dino Risi about men and women who meet at the dance halls and members of both opposite sex wanting to have fun with each other by dancing and possibly having a relationship and seeing how the various sexes respond during those three hours.

“Marriage Agency” directed by Federico Fellini is a 16-minute film revolves around a journalist trying to find an underground marriage agency and wants to know why people would use such a service.  So, he invents a story in order to meet one of the women who wants to get married with someone anonymous and find out why.

The longest film in “L’Amore in Citta” goes to Francesco Maselli and Cesare Zavattini’s film titled “Story of Caterina” and revolves around a single mother and her child.  The mother is doing all she can to make money by becoming a prostitute or whatever she can to take care of her young son.  But how far will this mother go, when she decides that taking care of her son is too difficult.

The final film titled “Italians Turn Their Heads” is a 14-minute film that requires no dialogue but showcasing beautiful actresses: Valeria Moriconi, Giovanna Ralli, Patrizia Ralli and various women walking through crowds and seeing many men turning their heads to see their legs or derriere.


“L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)” is presented in 1080p High Definition (black and white, 4:3). While there are traces of some white specks, the film looks great.

According to Raro Video, “the scene negatives and inflammable soundtrack conserved at Studio Cine where they were processed in 2001 were made avaialble for restoration by the owners, Studio Canal Image and Minerva International Group, while the project was funded with a contribution from the Municipality of Rome.  As well as problems deriving from breakage and interpolations which interrupt the narrative, a whole section of the scene negatives – the final part of Antonioni’s episode – was also damaged, probably erased by the censors.  Nevertheless, a check-print and a lavender were printed and thus a dupe negative was created, while a vintage lavender, made available by Minerva International Group, was used to reintegrate the gaps in the original.”


“L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)” is presented in Italian linear PCM dual mono with English subtitles. Dialogue is clear via center channel. I didn’t notice any hiss, crackling or pops during my viewing of the film.

According to Raro Video, “the sound was transcribed onto a digital support from a safety dupe soundtrack conserved at the National Film Library and then re-transcribed onto a new photographic negative at Cinecitta Studios.  Two positive copies were thus printed from the new negative soundtrack and the restored dupe”.


“L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by: Gabrielle Lucantonio (introduction), Carlo Lizzani (Love for Money), Guido Chiesa (Attempted Suicide), Mimmo Calopresti (Paradise for Three Hours), Silvano Agosti (Marriage Agency), Francesco Maselli (Story of Caterina) and Mario Brenta (Italian Turns Their Heads).
  • Interview with Paolo Mereghetti – (13:12) Film critic Paolo Mereghetti discusses “L’Amore in Citta”.
  • Interview with Luca Bandirale – (23:39) Film critic Luca Bandirale talks about the music compositions of “L’Amore in Citta”.
  • Interview with Angelo Pasquini – (15:04) Screenwriter Angelo Pasquini discusses “L’Amore in Citta”.
  • Trailer – (3:10) Theatrical trailer for “L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)”.


“L’Amore in Citta” comes with an 20-page booklet featuring “Young Directors Mature” by Gabrielle Lucantonio, “Notes on the Restoration of the Film” and “According to Cesare Zavattini”. A slip cover is also included.

As a cinema fan of Italian Neo-Realism, “L’Amore in Citta” was a fascinating and bold project for Cesare Zavattini and his fellow filmmakers.

To create a cinematic “issue” and giving free reign to the filmmakers to create whatever they want, but in the grounds that there is no pay but they would be responsible for their own expenses.  In some ways, some may cringe at the idea of doing pro bono type work and incurring expenses but the fact is these men were friends, they were filmmakers and they banded together to create such a film.

“L’Amore in Citta” unfortunately was not a success but what we have is a collaborative film project, a staple of time from older Italy and a film that cineaste can observe the various cinematic styles, the different perspectives of Italian society in the early 1950’s and enjoy or be nostalgic of the past.

As the film focuses on various types of “love”, as we have seen in recent films such as “Paris, Je T’aime” or “Heroes in Love” which also featured various filmmakers create short films about love, “L’Amore in Citta” is a film that captures early ’50s Italian society with efficacy.

A look at prostitution post-war in “Love for Money” by Carlo Lizzani, people who claim they tried to kill themselves due to love or failed love in Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Attempted Suicide” or where everyone goes to hook up – the dance hall as featured in “Paradise for Three Hours” by Dino Risi.

According to Risi, at the time of the filming, he focused on young housemaids who only had a few hours on Sunday off and for fun and entertainment, all they had were the dance houses.

But it’s the next three films that captivated me.

Federico Fellini’s “Marriage Agency” about a journalist trying to uncover why men and women are getting hitched through an underground marriage agency, which has been since superseded in cinema about people marrying under the table for citizenship, the next film “Story of Caterine” by Francesco Maselli and Cesare Zavattini is the heaviest of the three films in terms of plot as it deals with a poor woman, a single mother with a young boy who is unable to raise him like she wants to and is torn by keeping him or leaving him to ensure a better life for him.  And of course, the storyline of a love between a mother and her child is a fitting storyline for the film.

But what’s interesting is the final story of the film, which is the most lighthearted of them all, is “Italians Turn Their Heads” by filmmaker Alberto Lattuada.  While Lattuada filmed behind a minibus with black curtains, he captured the real reactions of people walking by beautiful women as they checked out the women’s rear and their legs.  While it’s a combination of real footage mixed with footage that was planned, both are able to co-exist in a natural and amusing manner.

But these are all stories that I found quite effective, while others worked much better than others, all were rather fascinating pieces of Italian life.  I have to admit that the one that I was most disappointed in was Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Attempted Suicides”.  Even Antonioni felt that two cases were real, while others seemed contrived and fake.  I have to agree.  Some of the individuals do not seem genuine and in turn, made his portion of the film seemed unnatural.

The most surprising is the “Story of Caterine”.  Granted, Francesco Maselli and Cesare Zavattini used a real actress in Caterina Rigoglioso but still, the point was capturing a mother’s connection to her child and the desperation of the character, it’s an emotional scene that anyone watching the film can understand and sympathize with.    It does go against the Neo-Realism of utilizing professional actors vs. non professional actors but he needed emotion, he needed desperation and Caterina Rigoglioso delivered.

As for the Blu-ray release, “L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)” is a magnificent release.  The restored film looks fantastic on Blu-ray and the soundtrack is clear with no significant hissing or crackling.  You also get audio commentary along with interviews.

Overall, fans of Italian cinema or Italian Neo-Realism will enjoy “L’Amore in Citta (Love in the City)”.  While only one film from this project was created, “L’Amore in Citta” is a fascinating time stamp of Italian culture in the 1950’s and one of the more enjoyable “love” anthologies to feature multiple filmmakers.  Entertaining and recommended!

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