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Allegro Non Troppo

By Jerry Renshaw

Nominally, Allegro Non Troppo is the Italian version of Disney's classic Fantasia, except that with its commentary on the human condition and its consequences, the film goes in thematic directions Disney would never have touched. Interspersed with the animation are black-and-white segments that involve a dictatorial conductor, a mousy animator, an orchestra full of old ladies, and a blowhard director. The animator is Italian comic Maurizio Nichetti, and the style is broad slapstick humor that stands in sharp contrast to the animated parts. Synced to Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is a vignette involving a satyr and his efforts to attract nymphs while fighting the effects of age, set perfectly to the mood of the piece. "Valtzer Triste" is set to the story of an abandoned cat as he wanders a derelict (war-torn?) building and remembers how things were when he had a more comfortable life. An incredibly imaginative segment is set to Ravel's "Bolero"; astronauts drop a Coke bottle on a planet and the story of evolution is traced, beginning in the bottle. On a lighter note, a piece set to Stravinsky's The Firebird begs the question: what if it were a perfect world and Adam and Eve had resisted the temptation of the apple in the Garden of Eden? The style of the animation calls to mind late-'60s pop-art icon Peter Max, Yellow Submarine, and even the paintings of Bosch; what Allegro Non Troppo lacks in the visual detail of the Disney film, it makes up for in inventiveness, emotional depth, and wit. Be advised, though, that many segments are more adult in theme and not very suitable for kids. The pratfalls and gags of the live-action interludes seem out of place until they provide some relief from the pathos of some of the animation (like "Valtzer Triste," a real tear-jerker). This is an important animated film that has somehow been neglected over the years, and a must-see for animation fans.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Bruno Bozzetto

Stars: Maurizio Nichetti, Maurizio Micheli

Released: July 27, 1977

Availability: DVD VHS


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