Bread and Chocolate (1974)

“Why do the foreigners dislike us Italians so much?”

Synopsis:
An Italian immigrant (Nino Manfredi) struggles to earn a living in Switzerland.

Genres:

Review:
Writer/director Franco Brusati’s serio-comic rendering of the travails and prejudices experienced by immigrants in Switzerland is a mixed bag of missed opportunities and keenly felt insights. Brusati is at his best when portraying the palpably felt hierarchy between “Aryan” Swiss and “others” — most memorably in a truly hilarious montage showcasing a bevy of blonde teenagers cavorting idyllically on the grounds outside of a chicken coop, where Manfredi and his dark-haired compatriots are being housed like animals. Other vignettes, however — including much of what occurs during Nino’s initial employment as a waiter at a high-end resort — fall mostly flat, and fail to generate the type of humor they’re aiming for. Meanwhile, Nino’s would-be romance with a Greek neighbor (Anna Karina) has potential but doesn’t really go anywhere; it seems calculated merely to include some “necessary” romantic tension, and to remind us that life is tough for ALL immigrants in Switzerland, not just Italians. Film fanatics will probably be curious to check out this award-winning film, and it’s worth a look — but it’s not required viewing.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Nino Manfredi as Nino
  • Several inspired sequences

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.

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