The Earth seen from the Moon

The Earth seen from the Moon is a surreal tale which is embodied in the movie The witches (1966), signed by Mauro Bolognini, Luchino Visconti, Vittorio de Sica, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Franco Rossi. The interpreters of this segment (the most lyrical of the whole film) are: Totò, Silvana Mangano and Ninetto Davoli.

Cianciato Miao, a widower marries Assuntina, a green-hairedwoman. They live in a shack, although they’d like to climb  the social ladder and improve their  condition, because- as Pasolini states- man is never satisfied with  what he owns.

Assuntinafakes her  suicide at the Colosseum, while Totò, Ninetto and other accomplices (in this scene  Ennio Antonelli’s characterisation is fairly obvious), they incite the curious passers-by to offer them some money to prevent the suicide. Two odd strangers, throwing a banana peel, appear now: a man dressed like a woman and a fat individual with a beard and mustache, interpreted by Laura Betti. Their presence, (they’re likely from some comic movie), disrupts the scene and Assuntina falls.

The woman reappears at the end of the movie in the form of a ghost . Father and son accept this new reality because, deep down, life and death are two linked aspects of existence.

A moral tale, set among the shacks of Roman hamlet, which portrays  a poor pre-industrial society, between degradation and unkept countryside, in which three absurd characters are placed in a realistic scenario.

Silvana Mangano, with her  green hair, acts remarkably. She looks like a silent film diva: she doesn’t talk, she only expresses herself with gestures and gazes. She seems to be dreaming or hallucinating and her gaze is lost in space.Totò is a Charlot with blond hair. He looks like a clown; a character from one of those comic movies of the 30s. The joke: “Life is a dream and ideologies end under the shoes” is memorable; it is a typical Pasolini sentence, but with an incipit taken from Calderon. Ninetto Davoli is spectacular playing the red-haired son, with a naive gaze and astonished eyes, in love with his step-mother.

Pier Paolo Pasolini is poetic: he composes a portrait and a homage to  Silvia Mangano.As the story narrates, she is dazed and surreal. The film paints the lyrical emotions so peculiar in the 60s. Dino De Laurenti, Mangano’s (1930-1989) husband, creates  his wife’s second cinematographic homage after the episodic movie My Lady (1964) by Tinto Brass. Ennio Morricone’s music is thrilling.

Translation by Francesca Pietroboni (edited by Irene Tossi)

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Gordiano Lupi
Gordiano Lupi (Piombino, 1960). Editorial manager of Edizioni Il Foglio, he contributes to Turin’s newspaper La Stampa. He translated the novels of the Cuban author Torreguitart Ruiz and published a number of books on Cuba, cinema, and many other topics. See the full list at www.infol.it/lupi. He participated in some TV broadcasts such as Corrado Augias’s Cominciamo bene le storie, Luca Giurato’s Uno Mattina, Odeon TV series on the Italian serial killers, Rete Quattro La Commedia all’italiana, Monica Maggioni’s Speciale TG1 on Cuba and Yoani Sánchez, Dove TV series on Cuba. He guested on some Italian and Swiss radio broadcasts for his books and comments on the Cuban culture. In 2012 he published a long chapter in El otro paredon, an essay on the Cuban situation, written with four authors of the Cuban exile, and issued in the USA with English and Spanish versions. His books received a large number of reviews and mentions. See the full list at www.infol.it/lupi. E-mail address: lupi@infol.it.