• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:July 11, 2021

We All Loved Each Other So Much: Politics, Movies and Love

In 2011, French screen actor Daniel Auteuil told The Guardian about the film that changed his life, Ettore Scola’s We All Loved Each Other So Much. He was perhaps 25 when he saw it and it made him understand the value of relationships and what consequences guilt could have. At that time, he had had a few romantic liaisons, with women he made ”suffer”. But then he saw this film and realized that he needed to improve, or else he would go through life having failed friendships. Now he can’t watch it anymore, even though he’s made his children see it; I guess it hurts too much.

Back to the end of World War II
Three people approach a very nice villa and see a man about to jump into his swimming pool. Who are they and why is this an important moment? We’re taken back a few decades, to the end of World War II. Gianni, Antonio and Nicola (Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi, Stefano Satta Flores) were resistance fighters who became best friends. After the war, they went back to their lives and their differences only grew stronger. Nicola started teaching again; eventually his marriage suffered because of his stubborn devotion to communist causes, leading him to abandon his family and move to Rome. One thing he remained faithful to was his obsession with Italian cinema.

Antonio was working as a nurse in Rome and became infatuated with the lovely Luciana (Stefania Sandrelli). One day she meets Nicola, who’s working as an attorney, and they immediately fall in love. Antonio doesn’t realize this at first and is heartbroken when he finds out, then infuriated…

Going back to normal lives
The film that brought Scola international attention is much loved among many people who were young in the 1970s and wanted to experience something emotional that wasn’t made in Hollywood. This film chronicles the postwar years in Italy to great effect, depicting three men whose friendship was forged by very special circumstances but is constantly challenged once they go back to normal lives. A strict political ideology that matters more than everything else in life, as in the case of Nicola, is shown as destructive, but so is the money-obsessed world that Gianni finds himself in, tied closely to a revolting but rich client (who looks a little bit like Jabba the Hutt) who makes him part of a corrupt and loveless life. A life that could have involved Luciana…

Antonio, on the other hand, seems to do a lot better than the other two over the years, in spite of the humiliating circumstances early in the film when Gianni and Luciana fall in love and his life falls apart. Near the end of the film, when the old friends meet again and share a drunken night together, it ends in bitter political arguments and a street brawl. As much as love is part of life, so is conflict, it would seem. Scola takes us through the decades in a riveting way, picturing the past in black-and-white, but much of the film is also set in a more colorful present; perhaps it’s a time that offers more nuance than just two colors?

The cast is fine, but Gassman and Manfredi are standouts. It’s impossible to deny that some of the film’s allure can be attributed to its love for classic Italian cinema. It is dedicated to Vittorio De Sica whose Bicycle Thieves (1948) plays an important part in the story; he’s also seen in archive footage.

The real eye-popping moment comes though when Antonio accidentally becomes involved in the shooting of the Fontana di Trevi scene in La Dolce Vita (1960), a reenactment that features Marcello Mastroianni and Federico Fellini playing themselves. You don’t have to be Nicola to appreciate the beauty of that moment.

We All Loved Each Other So Much 1974-Italy. 124 min. Color-B/W. Produced by Pio Angeletti, Adriano De Micheli. Directed by Ettore Scola. Screenplay: Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Ettore Scola. Music: Armando Trovajoli. Cast: Nino Manfredi (Antonio), Vittorio Gassman (Gianni Perego), Stefania Sandrelli (Luciana Zanon), Stefano Satta Flores (Nicola Palumbo), Giovanna Ralli, Aldo Fabrizi… Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni.

Trivia: Original title: C’eravamo tanto amati. 



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