In 1938 Adolf Hitler arrives in Italy for a meeting with Benito Mussolini. Most of Rome’s citizens flock to the parade in honor of the event, including worker Emanuele (Vernon) and his six children. Left alone in her shabby apartment, Emanuele’s wife Antonietta (Loren) goes about her daily chores. A chance encounter with lonely neighbor Gabriele (Mastroianni), who is no friend to the Fascists, leads to a day of unlikely connections and unexpected drama.
The late screenwriter/director Scola uses a sepia-toned palate and a working class milieu to bring this anti-Fascist tale to life, echoing the poignancy of the Italian Neo-realist films of the 1940s. Loren and Mastroianni, who’d collaborated many times before, bring tenderness and intelligence to their less than glamorous roles. With these two in top form and a director who expertly evokes the dark tide of 1930s Fascism, this powerful, award-winning drama will indeed make your day special.