×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Once a Year, Every Year

(Italian dialogue)

With:
Lorenzo ... Giorgio Albertazzi Romano ... Paolo Bonacelli Mario ... Lando Buzzanca Annamaria ... Carla Cassola Francesco ... Paolo Ferrari Ginevra ... Paola Pitagora Laura ... Giovanna Ralli Raffaele ... Jean Rochefort Giulia ... Alexandra La Capria Davide ... Gianmarco Tognazzi Giuseppe ... Vittorio Gassman

(Italian dialogue)

With most neophyte directors eager to distance themselves from the moth-eaten comedy vehicles that kept Italo cinema in the creative doldrums through the ’70s and ’80s, “Once a Year, Every Year” figures as an exception. Second-time helmer Gianfrancesco Lazotti steers a veteran cast through their paces in an ensemble comedy that might have been made two decades back. Surprisingly, the result is relatively buoyant, with snappy dialogue and able performers helping to smooth out the fusty undertaking’s wrinkles. Less surprisingly, its most receptive audience will be Euro oldsters parked comfortably in front of their TVs.

Set during an annual reunion dinner of lifelong friends now at retirement age , the film’s conflict turns on a letter from a recently deceased group member proposing the rest live out their twilight years together in a disused convent. Initially, the friends scoff at the notion. But as the evening rolls on and the imperfections in each of their seemingly cushy lives are exposed, the proposal takes on a certain appeal.

The octet is a lively group of characters, from the dinner’s officious organizer (Giorgio Albertazzi), rudely awakened to his wife’s unhappiness, through the group clown (shoddily dubbed French thesp Jean Rochefort), to the overworked, underloved lush (Carla Cassola). The group’s traditional leader, Giuseppe (Vittorio Gassman), arrives after dessert and confesses to being under house arrest on fraud charges.

Perfs are sharp across the board, but more appealing when characters are bantering than when they are dealing with the script’s flimsily justified explosive moments.

Though the potentially static, theatrically staged situation remains mobile, the merit rests more with the actors and script than with Lazotti’s purely functional direction or the film’s modest, TV-bound look.

Once a Year, Every Year

(ITALIAN-FRENCH-BELGIAN)

Production: An Academy Pictures release (Italy) of a DDS Cinematografica (Rome) production, in association with Les Films Auramax (Paris)/Alain Keytsman Prod. (Brussels). (International sales: Sacis, Rome.) Produced by Donatella Senatore, Andrea Marzari. Directed by Gianfrancesco Lazotti. Screenplay, Lazotti, Cecilia Calvi, from a story by Paola Scola.

Crew: Camera (Telecolor), Sebasiano Celeste; editor, Carlo Fontana; music, Giovanni Venosta; art direction, Fabio Vitale; costume design, Gianna Gissi; sound (Dolby), Luciano Muratori. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Italian Panorama), Sept. 4, 1994. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: Lorenzo ... Giorgio Albertazzi Romano ... Paolo Bonacelli Mario ... Lando Buzzanca Annamaria ... Carla Cassola Francesco ... Paolo Ferrari Ginevra ... Paola Pitagora Laura ... Giovanna Ralli Raffaele ... Jean Rochefort Giulia ... Alexandra La Capria Davide ... Gianmarco Tognazzi Giuseppe ... Vittorio Gassman

More Film

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' to Soar Above Box Office Competition Over Memorial Day Weekend

    When Disney first released “Aladdin” in 1992, Bill Clinton was just settling in to the Oval Office, “Game of Thrones” wasn’t much more than a book idea percolating in the mind of author George R.R. Martin, and Johnny Carson was wrapping up his stint as “Tonight Show” host. In some ways, 2019 feels like a [...]

  • Daniel Dae Kim Hellboy

    Cannes: Daniel Dae Kim Joins Joe Penna’s Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Stowaway’

    Daniel Dae Kim, best known recently for ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” will join Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette in Joe Penna’s sci-fi thriller “Stowaway.” The movie marks the second feature from Penna and Ryan Morrison, the duo behind the Cannes Official Selection film “Arctic,” which released earlier this year. XYZ Films and CAA Media Finance [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Karim Ainouz on Cannes Un Certain Regard's ‘The Invisible Life’

    CANNES  —  Karim Aïnouz’s “The Invisible Life” begins with two  sisters, not much over 20, Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler) sitting by the shore of one of the multiple bays around Rio de Janeiro, a lush tropical forest behind. They have all their life in front of them. Guida suddenly dashes off clambering [...]

  • Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire 'Portrait of

    Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire Celine Sciamma’s 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

    Neon and Hulu have acquired North American rights to Céline Sciamma’s love story “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which premiered in competition at Cannes. Neon is planning a theatrical release for the film this year, which will include an awards campaign in all categories. The film is set in Brittany, France in 1770. Marianne [...]

  • Brightburn review

    Film Review: 'Brightburn'

    “Superman” meets “The Omen” in “Brightburn,” a watchable but super-silly mix of superheroics and evil-child horror that mashes together singularly uninspired ideas from both. Offering R-rated fantasy competition to “Aladdin” this Memorial Day weekend, it should do OK with undiscriminating audiences seeking familiar, forgettable genre thrills. But the franchise prayers that an open-ended fadeout dangles [...]

  • Aladdin

    Film Review: Will Smith in 'Aladdin'

    Of all the characters in Walt Disney Studios’ canon, is there any more animated than the Genie from “Aladdin”? In 1992, old-school cartooning seemed the only way to keep up with comedian Robin Williams’ rapid-fire sense of humor and free-associative gift for improvisation. Much of the appeal of the original “Aladdin” came thanks to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content