Dio, come ti amo! (1966)

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Dio, come ti amo!: Directed by Miguel Iglesias. With Gigliola Cinquetti, Mark Damon, Micaela Pignatelli, Antonio Mayans. A young housekeeper’s daughter pretends to be wealthy in order to impress her best friend’s fiancé.

“u0026quot;Dio, come ti amo!u0026quot; (1966), directed by Miguel Iglesias, stars Gigliola Cinquetti who rose to fame in 1964 by becoming the youngest person to win the Eurovision Song Contest with her hit u0026quot;Non ho lu0026#39;età.u0026quot; The lyrics of the song, performed by the 16-year-old Cinquetti in 1964, concern the restlessness and impatience of a young person to experience romantic love. Iglesias knows whatu0026#39;s up (and what the audience of the day wanted) as the film just abruptly starts with Cinquetti performing that particular song. While the song and the performance are delightful in their own right, the opening scene does feel appropriate because Iglesiasu0026#39; film picks up the theme of u0026quot;Non ho lu0026#39;etàu0026quot; for the whole film. In the beginning, Cinquettiu0026#39;s character sings about her impatience for love, and the story of the film, not surprisingly by any means of course, revolves precisely around her falling in love for the first time. In the opening song, she yearns for love; as the film goes by, she begins to sing about the pains and pleasures of the love that she has in her heart.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eGigliola Cinquetti plays an Italian competitive swimmer named Gigliola from a working-class family. In a competition between young female swimmers from Italy and Spain, Gigliola saves a Spanish girl named Angela when the girl does not rise back to surface after having jumped to the pool. Eventually Gigliola travels to Barcelona to visit Angela. There she meets Angelau0026#39;s fiancé Luis with whom Gigliola begins to fall in love. She does not act on her feelings, despite there being mutual affection between the two, out of respect for Angela. To make things a little more complicated: out of shame for her blue-collar background, Gigliola has pretended to be a wealthy socialite to both Angela and Luis. When Angela and Luis eventually come to visit her in Naples, she must involve her entire family, as well as a millionaire for whom her family works, in her shenanigans. Oh, and Gigliola also sings, of course — quite a lot.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe story of the film, which is an obvious star vehicle for Gigliola Cinquetti, is ludicrously silly and its narrative execution often feels clunky and mechanic. The rhythm when it comes to transitions from one scene to the next is not always on point. Certain narrative decisions reek implausibility. One can practically see the mechanic wheels of the quickly produced screenplay turning at some junctures of the plot. There is also an unnecessary minor sub-plot involving a love affair of Angelau0026#39;s mother that even a charitable spectator cannot enjoy.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOne of the biggest flaws in the film is, perhaps, that it does not really study the theme of the impatience of the young to experience love. The theme is quite explicitly brought up in the song u0026quot;Non ho lu0026#39;etàu0026quot; and other songs, but the film does not really include any non-musical scenes where the spectator could observe Gigliola pondering or going through emotions. And there would be ample opportunities for such exploration of a young characteru0026#39;s difficulties in dealing with strong emotions, which is the only principal theme that does seem to emerge from the material. Although the film has a running time of over 100 minutes, it feels like the film sometimes moves too fast without letting the characters breathe. Worst of all, maybe, is the character of Luis who remains a barely recognizable cart-board cut-out. He utters romantic one-liners straight from paperbacks by the cashier and has no identifiable personality traits besides that. He is the obscure object of the protagonistu0026#39;s desire, one might argue of course, but somehow this line of reasoning does not feel persuasive when Iglesias spends little to no time in exploring even Gigliolau0026#39;s emotional world.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eDespite its apparent flaws, however, something about u0026quot;Dio, come ti amo!u0026quot; is quite charming. The on-location shooting in both Barcelona and Naples is beautiful to look at, the performance by the young Gigliola Cinquetti is alluring, and the story, irrespective of its conventionality, is pleasant enough to follow. The film is at its best when Iglesias just allows the young characters to hang around (that is, when he is not too concerned with telling the sub-par story), something that he does not let them do nearly enough, unfortunately.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe biggest thing about the film, of course, and the reason why most people probably watched u0026quot;Dio, come ti amo!u0026quot; at least back in the day, are the songs performed by Cinquetti in it. There are 7 songs in total and they accompany the narrative phases of the film quite like in musicals, though u0026quot;Dio, come ti amo!u0026quot; is probably not a musical in the precise sense of the term. Even for someone who is not a music enthusiast such as yours truly, these songs are the highlight of the film. I would say the film is worth checking out for them alone. They elevate this otherwise sub-par teenage romance film.”

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