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Visitor, The (La Visita) 
Written by: on March 8th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1963
Director: Antonio Pietrangeli
Writers: Gino De Santis, Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari, Antonio Pietrangeli
Cast:Sandra Milo, François Périer, Mario Adorf, Gastone Moschin, Angela Minervini

DVD released: March 13th, 2012
Approximate running time: 111 minutess
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98


Synopsis: A thirty something spinstress puts a ad in the newspaper in hope of finding a husband.

The Visitor was directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, who’s other notable films include, The Bachelor, Adua and Her Friends and I Knew her Well. The screenplay for The Visitor was co-written by Ettore Scola, a frequent collaborator of Antonio Pietrangeli and a filmmaker in his own right (A Special DayUna giornata particolare) and Ruggero Maccari, who is most known for his co-writer the first film adaption of Giovanni Arpino’s novel ‘Il buio e il miele’, which is better known to cinephiles under the title Scent of a Woman. Other key collaborators on The Visitor include cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi (The Damned) and composer Armando Trovajoli (Two Women, Marriage Italian Style).

Though looking for love has remained a difficult terrain to navigate through. Over the years the way in which one can look for that special someone, that they can call their soul mate has drastically changed over the years. With the most notable change being that way in which people now interact via social networks like Facebook.

And while placing an ad in the newspaper like the film’s protagonist does, may seem like an outdated way of communicating. In many ways it is not that different then some of the more modern ways of communicating like texting and the aforementioned social networks. Also just because the message can be delivered quicker, this does not mean that the end result is any more effective, then it once was.

At the heart of this film are two characters, Pina and Adolfo who feel that their window of opportunity is closing, when it comes to finding love. And while it is this reason that brings them together, personality wise they couldn’t be further different. Pina comes from a small town where everyone knows each other, while Adolfo lives in the big city and is virtually invisible to those around him.

Narrative wise, the film’s primarily focuses around the day in which these two characters spend together. With all of their back story laid out via the use of flash backs. Also for anyone expecting a conventional story about falling love, then you should look elsewhere. This film does not sugarcoat the ups and downs of relationships. In fact everything ends on a downbeat note that goes against this genre’s conventions, thus making the events which have unfolded all the more potent.

Being that this is a character driven drama, it should not come as a surprise that the performance play an integral part to whether the story at hand works or falls flat. Thankfully all the performances are superb, even all of the secondary characters are wonderfully realized. Of course the backbone of this film are the performances of its two leads Sandra Milo (8 1/2, Juliet of the Spirits) in the role of Pina and François Périer (Nights of Cabiria, Le Samouraï) in the role of Adolfo. The moments in which their characters interact are pitch perfect.

The DVD:

Raro Video present The Visitor in a letterboxed widescreen that retains the film’s intended aspect ratio. Outside of some very minor instances of print debris, the source used is clean looking. Black levels are at best average, contrast levels are inconsistent and sometimes the image looks overly bright. Details tend to lend more towards sot, then crisp and edge enhancement varies in degree throughout.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English have been included with this release. There are no problems with background noise and everything sounds balanced.

Extras for this release include three interviews, the first interview with screenwriter and filmmaker Ettore Scola (18 minutes 38 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles), the second interview with composer Armando Trovajoti (9 minutes 49 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles) and the third interview is with filmmaker Peter Pietrangeli (14 minutes 52 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles). The interview with Ettore Scola focuses on his working relationship with Antonio Pietrangeli and how it has influenced him as a filmmaker. The interview with Armando Trovajoti covers the film’s score and Antonio Pietrangeli’s contributions to the score. The interview with Peter Pietrangeli is well rounded discussing about Antonio Pietrangeli and his films. Also included with this release is slip cover that has different image, then the one used for the front cover art on the DVD and DVD-Rom content – a fully illustrated PDF file with a essay about the film, comments about director Antonio Pietrangeli and actress Sandra Milo, critics comments on the film, a bio and filmography for Antonio Pietrangeli. Overall The Visitor gets a serviceable audio / video presentation from Raro Video.

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