Among the many virtues of Sostiene Pereira, the film adaptation of the novel of the same title by Antonio Tabucchi, is that it is one of the last films starring Marcello Mastroianni, an authentic superstar of European cinema. Mastroianni plays Pereira, a feeble, widowed journalist living in the Lisbon of 1938, during the Salazar dictatorship. Like the book, the picture narrates his gradual political awareness after meeting an idealistic young writer.
The moving end of the film is the reverse of its beginning: if in the first scene an aging Mastroianni, seated in one of his favourite trams, said he was obsessed with death, in the last scene a rejuvenated Mastroianni strides through the crowd with a backpack on his shoulder and lots of life ahead of him. The street through which he walks is the Rua Augusta, and the imposing arch that is seen in the background –which bears the same name– leads to the Praça do Comerçio, the city’s nerve centre. The arch was recently outfitted with a vantage point that offers excellent view of what is often called the White City.
TÍTULO: Sostiene Pereira
DIRECTOR: Roberto Faenza
WRITERS: Roberto Faenza, Sergio Vecchio, Antonio Tabucchi (Novela: Antonio Tabucchi)
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Blasco Giurato
CAST: Marcelo Mastroianni, Joaquim de Almeida