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A STORY OF BOYS AND GIRLS

Italy, 1989 (MIFF 1990)

Director: Pupi Avati

PUPI AVATI SPECIALIZES IN COMEDIES, often with large groups of people. His latest, A Story of Boys And Girls, is one of his best: a wholly delightful film that engages the audience to join in the engagement celebrations of a city boy and a country girl in the winter of 1936.

The traditional feast (a 20-course meal) has been prepared by the girl's extended family — and the local priest — in the large old farmhouse where she lives. Meanwhile, the upper-middleclass family of the young man, who live in Bologna, are not exactly looking forward to meeting their future in-laws. Matters are complicated because the girl's father has just been caught in his latest infidelity, and is reduced to tears by the news that his mistress has been unfaithful to him. Also, a travelling salesman who has rented a room each year for his wife and family arrives unexpectedly with his young French mistress in tow, causing additional woes for the hostess.

Much of the film takes place during the long meal, where all kinds of Tuscan delicacies are consumed.

Avari's warm, generous vision encompasses amusing details. There are some genuinely lovely characters {like the working-class boy from Rome, friend of one of the country girts, who, when quizzed by the visitors, doesn't know any of the city's fashionable streets).

The black and white photography (slightly soft, because it was shot on color negative) is so beautiful that it gives the illusion of being filmed many years ago.

International acclaim is indicated for this generous, charming movie, which is filled with sentiment but never crassly sentimental.

- David Stratton, Variety

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