Milanese by birth and Roman by adoption, Dino Risi (1916–2008) possessed, beneath his apparently cynical and even cruel gaze, the traits of a true humanist, and his films exhibit a profound morality. Considered in its entirety, his work forms an impassioned human comedy, exhibiting a disenchantment that results from a deep understanding of his characters’ souls. For this reason his films frequently produce laughter tinged with bitterness, and the spectator often ends up with a loving understanding of even the most controversial and questionable protagonists. Risi, who died only last year, attracted the most beloved actors and collaborators to his very special brand of intelligent, sparkling humor, and his films stand as a passionate testament to the enduring attraction of the true soul of comedy. All films are directed by Risi, from Italy, and in Italian with English subtitles, unless otherwise noted.
The exhibition is produced by Associazione Napolicinema and 41° Parallelo (Napoli, Mediterraneo-New York, USA) and organized for The Museum of Modern Art by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film; Davide Azzolini, Director, 41° Parallelo; and Antonio Monda, Professor, New York University. Grateful thanks to MiBAC DG Cinema, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Cineteca Nazionale, and Cinecittá Luce SpA.