Sunday, 20 June 2010

Best Actor 1976: Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties

Giancarlo Giannini received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Pasqualino Frafuso in the Italian film Seven Beauties.

Seven Beauties is a very strange film, yet it is incredibly fascinating. It story is odd, and most of the direction is too yet it is fascinating to watch even it is rather difficult to at times.

Giancarlo Giannini's performance is a rather strange thing like the film. He plays Pasqualino Frafuso who  is not a good man at all. In fact he is mostly a very bad man, and when he is better he is not very good. Not that he is a villain but he rather is just an oddity of a person. A character that even the greatest actor would have to struggle with I imagine. Giannini though never seems to have trouble with this role even at the oddest and strangest parts of it. He always seems to have a naturalness in the role despite how odd the role can become.

Giannini gives a masterful performance always striking the exact note that is needed for everything his character does no matter what. His performance is always fascinating and his character undergoes extreme changes each which he meets perfectly. His character shown before World War II in Italy as a man concerned with his family's honor, despite having none of it himself. In these scenes it is  fascinating the way he plays the character with this cocky stride, despite the pathetic nature of the character. Giannini perfectly shows in a perfect understatement that although Pasqualino thinks he is "cool" and acts that way he is not at all. He is especially great in a scene where he threatens a man all too well with a gun but then shoots before he wanted to, and his face of surprise and upset is too perfect.

Later though he no longer can be cool precisely since he ends up in a concentration camp since he deserted from the Italian army. He no longer is as confidant and shows a powerful portrait of a man who does not wish to die, and will do anything not to die, even that means trying to seduce the female commandant of the camp. The scenes of his efforts are particularly astounding in the fact they seem believable because of Giannini's unbelievable performance. The way he attempts the seduction then deals with the commandant are all too perfectly played in scenes of incredible oddness. Giannini somehow never strikes a wrong note in these scenes despite how easy it would have been.

Every thing about this performance is special, and some how Giannini makes the viewer sympathize and like his character at all despite how despicable his character is. He still has a certain charm to his performance in all his scenes even when he is doing the most horrible things. It is fascinating how he gives both a loud performance than never goes over the top despite being so strange, and at the same time an incredibly subtle portrayal. Giannini does both wonderfully in this performance. He conveys so much with his mannerisms and voice, and just with his eyes. His eyes and face are perfectly used especially in the two last scenes where the worst comes to worst. His eyes are astoundingly powerful at all times especially in the final scene. He shows the true story of this odd man with just his eyes, in the last look at himself. Giannini's performance is just as the film is strange, but powerful and always brilliant.

10 comments:

joe burns said...

Fantastic review! I think he'll be third though- not sure.

Louis Morgan said...

Thanks Joe! We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'd just like to say I love your blog, first of all, and I always look forward to seeing what new things you have to say. Seven Beauties is one of my favorite films of all time, and I feel you analyzed this brilliant performance perfectly! :)

Louis Morgan said...

Thank you Anonymous! I am always very happy to hear that someone enjoys my blog, and to see new commentators.

Sage Slowdive said...

I think he is very underrated here...

Louis Morgan said...

Underrated in what capacity?

Sage Slowdive said...

Well, you never hear anyone bragging on how good Seven Beauties or Giannini are.

He's a strong 4 for me.

Louis Morgan said...

I'm glad you like him. That's true, although the small about people who do talk about the film and Giannini seem to heavily praise both.

dinasztie said...

I haven't seen this movie, but great review and makes me want to see it. Do you know if it's online?

Louis Morgan said...

Thanks! There is an overdubbed version on Google, but I do not know of any subtitled versions online.