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Watched: 16 January

Though running close to 200 minutes in length, this early-1960s anthology of shortish films by notable neo-realist directors never really felt like a chore to get through, although I must admit I enjoyed the first two – by Mario Monicelli and Federico Fellini – much more than the latter pair by Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica. Each piece or quarter features a different beautiful actress of the day (Marisa Solinas, Anita Ekberg, Romy Schneider, Sophia Loren), playing characters caught up in then-modern tales of love and morality, though the sexual politics of Italian film (and, presumably, Italian society) have since changed considerably. Certain comments on the objectification of women in each screenplay are dealt with a little half-heartedly, and it’s notable that all four of the directors cannot resist the opportunity to film Loren, Solinas et al in their underwear. The 45-minute long melodramas are all undeniably full of life and energy, though, and it’s well worth watching for the performances of the four stars. (***)