Picks and Pans Review: Portrait of a Woman, Nude

updated 05/30/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/30/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Italian comedies about domestic upheaval area dime a dozen, but this is an unusually good example of the species. Nino Manfredi, who starred as an actor in Bread and Chocolate, also co-wrote and directed this film, in which he plays a husband who finds he can't make love with his wife anymore. God knows why not—his wife is played by the gorgeous Elenora Giorgi, a dead ringer for Monica Vitti, the '60s queen of Italian cinema. The unhappy couple split—until one day Manfredi spots a nude painting of a woman who looks strikingly like his wife. Curious, he learns that the model is a prostitute, so he sets out to find her. This is where things get funny—the model seems to be his wife, dressed in an outlandishly garish costume and a red wig, but Manfredi isn't quite sure. The film couldn't have a more beautiful setting, Venice during the annual Mardi Gras-like carnival. The costumes and revelry in the street serve to accentuate the fantastic, surreal nature of the movie. At times it almost has the look of Black Orpheus, the all-time great movie about the Brazilian Mardi Gras, but with none of the menace. This is a good-natured film all the way through. (In Italian with English subtitles) (No rating)

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