My Friends

Director Pietro Germi coscripted this 1975 Italian film but fell ill during preproduction; he asked his friend Mario Monicelli (Big Deal on Madonna Street) to take over as director and died on the first day of shooting. The story concerns four middle-aged friends who roam around Tuscany playing adolescent pranks: they slap the faces of passengers looking out the windows of departing trains or show up in a village pretending to be surveyors and send the locals into shock by slating numerous buildings for demolition. They seem to be dealing with middle age by regressing to their youth, and one has to admire their spirit—though much of their humor is based on wordplay and nonsense phrases that defy translation. 109 min.

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