Il Sorpasso

The Easy Life

dir. Dino Risi

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An uptight law student (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is taken under the wing of a loud-mouthed good-time guy (Vittorio Gassman) in this classic example of "comedy Italian style."
Sun-baked commedia all'Italiana to blow away mid-winter blues, Il Sorpasso is considered Dino Risi's masterpiece and one of the last great classics of "comedy Italian style." In a Rome depopulated by August heat and holidays, a shy law student (Jean-Louis Trintignant) reluctantly falls in with his older opposite (Vittorio Gassman), a loud, jaded connoisseur of "the easy life" who fends off encroaching age by cruising in his Lancia Aurelia convertible and listening to Italian pop. (He has no compunction about using the women's washroom or trying — emphasis on "trying" — to seduce any woman he espies.) As the contrary duo travels from Rome to Tuscany, the uptight student imbibes the hedonistic lifestyle of his jaded mentor, until his wanton ways suddenly turn to tragedy. The ultimate odd-couple road movie, Il Sorpasso offers abundant riches, from the lush scenery and tune-stuffed music track to the splendid performances of Gassman and Trintignant; no wonder the film remained a favourite of both actors.