Il Sorpasso (4/8)

In our era, what with the information of the entire world at our fingertips, you might feel skeptical that a stone still left unturned by American hands can qualify as one of the “greatest films of all time” — but thanks to Janus Films’ brand-new DCP restoration of this Sixties Italian comedic masterpiece, all skepticism will evaporate within Il Sorpasso’s first minutes. Dino Risi (who also directed the original film on which Scent of a Woman was based) guides a smashingly outsized Vittorio Gassman and a brilliantly understated Jean-Louis Trintignant through one of the ultimate road movies, in which a boorish, horndog lout drags a repressed law student on an epic tour through Northern Italy’s beautiful coasts, eccentric crowds and their own tectonic emotional revelations. Backed by wall-to-wall Italo-pop hits and crammed with as much surprising detail in its cast-of-hundreds background players as Tati’s Playtime, Il Sorpasso speeds along a fine line between laugh-out-loud interplay and shocking visual turnarounds. We really mean it when we say that we haven’t been this jazzed about a previously-unknown-to-us repertory pick in ages.
Dir. Dino Risi, 1962, DCP, 105 min.

Watch the trailer for “Il Sorpasso”!