|We All Loved Each Other So Much|
by Ettore Scola
The film that changed my life:
C'eravamo tanto amati (Ettore Scola, 1974)
Sunday 11 December 2011 00.04 GMT
he film that had the greatest effect on me was C'eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much) by Ettore Scola. It's the story of a group of friends torn apart by events in their lives. They have been together through the second world war as part of the Resistance; they have great hopes and aspirations. But within the group two people love each other and the man who is in love leaves to marry someone else for money. He becomes a lawyer, powerful and rich, but he cannot stop thinking about the woman he abandoned.
One day, he is in Rome. There's a traffic jam, so he's rolled up his sleeves, trying to direct cars. He sees his old friends go past – the woman he loved with his best friend, the two of them now an item. They think he's been reduced to begging in the street. He feels so guilty he doesn't dare tell them the truth. But on leaving he drops his wallet. The couple find it and decide to take it back to him.
They pass this grand house and say: "He can't live there – he's too poor!" But they climb over the wall and see the guy lying down by the pool in his dressing gown. And you realise that the two people will never go to see him again.
The film encompasses a lot of narrative strands, but I'm only telling you about this one because it moves me the most. It makes me sad because it's a story of a failure – how life can be a failure. I would have been 25, 26 when I first saw it. At that time. I was an actor, I had already left home and I had broken up with girls and made them suffer. Very early on, the film marked me and made me aware of the implications of relationships, of guilt. Although I was a young man when I saw it, I got the feeling that I understood, at that moment, something definitive about life. I identified with that couple.
I've seen it since and I've showed it to my children, but I don't want to watch it anymore. I can't!