L'Ospite (1971)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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L'Ospite is a psychological melodrama about a family whose self-deception is revealed when a stranger intrudes. A middle-aged woman introduces her lover to her children, who are about the same age. The reaction of the daughter (the main character) turns the potentially comic situation into a real psychodrama. Her awkward behavior arises out of her inability to accept a reality that is different from the one she's always lived in. As if one trauma is not enough, she also discovers her father is a homosexual. The roles are now reversed; it is the parents who transgress and feel shame, and the daughter who has bourgeois mores and is worried about the family's reputation. Alessandro Colizzi uses a cold, detached tone to expose the contradictions and limitations of certain sections of the cultured and well-to-do left-wing Italian middle class. The title of the film is translated into English as "The Guest," but in Italian it indicates the host and the guest, rendering an ambiguity as to who is the guest/host, which seems to suit the purpose of the director. The film is made in the tradition of Pasolini and Visconti, although Colizzi cites Fassbinder as his influence. L'Ospite was screened as part of the International Forum of New Cinema section of the 49th Berlin Film Festival, 1999. --

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Keywords

craziness, investigation, mental-illness