Jun 1, 2014

Il Sorpasso: Italian Buddy-Bonding with a Tragic Twist

Il Sorpasso (The Good Life, 1962) is an Italian homoerotic buddy drama directed by Dino Risi.

Roberto, a young, timid law school student (Jean-Louis Trintignant, left) meets the brash, devil-may-care, 40-ish Bruno (Vittorio Gassman, below), and they both abandon their obligations for two days of driving around Italy, buddy-bonding and having picaresque adventures.

Most of which involve "looking" for girls, then taking their clothes off and explaining how they're not attracted to each other.

Of course, they are attracted to each other: that's the whole point.  They just have to sublimate it through discussions of girls and their lack of interest.

Their idyll ends in sudden tragedy -- a convention of the 1960s commedia alla italiana, but also a way of punishing Roberto for his "deviance," choosing homoerotic freedom over a "respectable" life with a job, a house, a wife, and kids.

Jean-Louis Trintignant starred in many romances and sex comedies in the 1960s.

Vittorio Gassman, one of the greats of the Italian theater, had a few gay-subtext movies, such as Big Deal on Madonna Street with Renato Salvatori.