La stanza del vescovo (The Bishop’s Room). 1977. Italy/France. Directed by Dino Risi. Screenplay by Dino Risi, Leo Benvenuti, Piero de Bernardi. With Ugo Tognazzi, Ornella Muti. In Italian; English subtitles. 110 min.
The idylls of the rich and indolent take on a decidedly sinister cast in this scheming comedy, set in the Italian lake district just after WWII. Marco Maffei (Patrick Dewaere) befriends Temistocle Mario Orimbelli (Ugo Tognazzi), an enigmatic libertine, former Fascist, and possible wife killer. “Tognazzi plays an ugly character: he represents Italy gone to the dogs. It is the Italy of ’46,” Risi noted. “I chose to tell the story of the past and of provincial life: I believe that the Italian public, at a dramatic moment like this, likes to take refuge in the time and the world of their fathers, awful as they were, but in any case it was possible to fulfill, much more than today, an inalienable desire for security.” New 35mm print courtesy Luce Cinecittà.