“Il Sorpasso” (1962)

I want to see the new Michael Haneke movie as much for the cast as for him—I think it’s the first screen work Jean-Louis Trintingant’s done since his daughter was murdered, and that was years ago. As it is, I just watched Dino Risi’s Il Sorpasso, a fantastic road movie with Trintingant and Vittorio Gassman. Gassman’s a hard-living playboy who looks like he has life by the balls but who’s fast closing in on middle age; he gets hooked up with Trintingant’s genteel, rather cowardly law student, and they spend a weekend tearing around Tuscany in Gassman’s Lancia convertible, eating, getting bombed, visiting both their families, chasing chicks, etc., as the movie examines both the comforts and drawbacks of being either too aggressive or too passive in life. It pretty much wallows in the era it was shot in, with lots of bikini shots and references to Jackie, Nikita and (especially) The Twist (it’s one of the earliest films I’ve seen that had a soundtrack listing at the end). It just kept getting better and better; I could’ve watched it for another hour and a half. Unfortunately it’s a gray market jobbie I bought off eBay, but keep an eye out for it should it ever show up here. (It was released in the U.S. as The Easy Life but the Italian title translates to “overtaking”, the word used over there for one car passing another. The movie has half a dozen hair-raising shots of the actors doing just that at some very high speeds.)

Here’s a taste of what it feels like—in fact this contains one of my favorite parts of the movie:

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