Prisoners of Poisoning – Rediscovering ‘Somewhere Beyond Love’ / ‘Delitto D’Amore’ (Italy 1974 – 105 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - September 11, 2014
Prisoners of Poisoning – Rediscovering ‘Somewhere Beyond Love’ / ‘Delitto D’Amore’ (Italy 1974 – 105 mins)

Set in an industrial town full of smog, fog and grey skies, the beautifully titled Italian drama ‘Somewhere Beyond Love’, is a straightforward yet realistic tale of two people from different upbringings who suddenly fall in love.

Two factory workers; Carmela (Stefania Sandrelli) and Nullo (Giuliano Gemma), meet and quickly fall in love, even though they are from very different backgrounds. Carmela had a tough childhood in Sicily, while Nullo had a comfortable upbringing in Milan. They also share different beliefs with Nullo an atheist, and Carmela a strict Roman Catholic. Still, they are very determined to make things work and try not to let obstacles and social struggles get in their way. Unfortunately, for this happy young couple, sadness and tragedy are not too far away.

A long forgotten romantic classic; ‘Somewhere Beyond Love’ is an authentic love story without all the schmaltz of Hollywood. It’s also lovingly told by both the director and his two leads. Stefania Sandrelli is excellent as Carmela, a hard working young woman from a peasant background. An actress since she was 15, Sandrelli had earlier appeared in Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 political drama ‘The Conformist’, with Jean-Louis Trintignant. She later played Gérard Depardieu’s tragic wife in Bertolucci’s 1976 epic ‘1900’ (‘Novecento’), and later starred in Tinto Brass’s rather explicit drama ‘The Key’ (‘La chiave’). Former stuntman Giuliano Gemma gives a nice, gentle performance as the good-natured Nullo. Gemma had earlier appeared in Luchino Visconti’s 1963 epic ‘The leopard’ (‘Il Gattopardo’), and had the title role in the 1966 spaghetti western ‘Arizona Colt’.

Writer-director Luigi Comencini does a good job with the simple yet sometimes gritty material. Comencini had earlier scored great success with his award-winning 1960 comedy-drama ‘Everybody Go Home’ (‘Tutti a casa’), about the allied invasion of Italy in 1943. He also made the pretty good 1977 giallo ‘The Cat’ (‘Il Gatto’), a black-comedy with Ugo Tognazzi and Dalila Di Lazzaro. There is also a really nice and sometimes moving score by the prolific Italian composer Carlo Rustichelli.

A lovely, rather quiet film, and an accurate study of social classes, ‘Somewhere Beyond Love’ is a thoughtful and insightful melodrama that I enjoyed discovering for the first time recently. I have deliberately not gone into the details of the tragic aspect of the story, but it does involve the factory conditions where both Carmela and Nullo work, which was a big hot potato in Italy at the time. This is not a film for the ‘car-chase’ crowd but, for those who are in the mood for a well made love story, you could do a lot worse than this minor romantic gem.

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