Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Novellas by Luigi Pirandello provided the source for this Italian anthology of two tales written and directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. "Felice," set in Rome of the '30s, focuses on former opera baritone Felice (Antonio Albanese), now an accountant at the Teatro dell'Opera. Felice roars with laughter during his sleep, prompting his suspicious Russian wife (Elena Ghiaurov) to leave him. Abrasive opera director Migliori (Luca Zingaretti) has a daily ritual of tormenting crippled Rambaldi (Giuseppe Cederna). Since Felice has dreamed of joining Migliori in this humiliation, he is overcome with guilt when Rambaldi commits suicide. Felice makes plans to drown himself, but his future brightens after he finds romance with former chorus girl Nora (Sabrina Ferilli). "Two Kidnappings" begins in contemporary Sicily with a mobster holding a youth (Steve Spedicato) hostage to prevent his Mafia turncoat father from naming names but then segues to a kidnapping of 100 years earlier at the same location. Originally a three-parter, the third tale was filmed and edited but later deleted from the final release version. Nicola Piovani's orchestral score includes selections from Rossini. The Taviani brothers previously adapted Pirandello in their 1984 Kaos. Shown at the 1998 Venice Film Festival , the 1998 Toronto Film Festival, and the 1998 New York Film Festival.