Bored Husband, Keen Lover
Ferdinando Cefalù, named Fefè, is the main protagonist of this film. Fefè is a member of the Sicilian aristocracy that has lost most of its wealth but tries to maintain an aristocratic lifestyle, especially for what concerns appearances.
What is important to him is to look noble and keep his reputation high.
His marriage was a marriage of interest, in fact, Rosalia allows him to maintain a seemingly (but only apparently) noble lifestyle.
But Fefè also embodies the Sicilian man, passionate, narcissistic, sure of himself … but unable to maintain control in the face of beauty and youth .. and in fact falls in love with his young cousin Angela and goes crazy for her
A DIABOLIC PLAN
Not being able to divorce (divorce is forbidden by law since the days of Mussolini) Fefè understands that the only possibility of having Angela is to get rid of his wife using in his favor the law 587. But in order to do this, he needs that Rosalia compromise his honor, and only then he could kill her with the approval of his community and the understanding of the society to which he belongs.
For this reason, Fefe realizes a diabolical plan to push his wife into the arms of a lover.
The plot of the film, in fact, is used by Dino Risi to denounce not only the backwardness of certain Italian norms and customs, but also the absurdity of some of his laws, such as that of article 587.
But Fefè plays an even more important role in the film: he is the narrator of the film, he is the one who accompanies the viewer on his tour of the community to which he belongs.
Through his voice, the director Dino Risi, shows the behaviors and customs of people who live in an environment that belongs to the past and that has little to do with the modern Italy of the post-war period.
It is no coincidence that the film includes another film of the same period, La Dolce Vita, by Federico Fellini, almost as if the director wanted to compare, by contrast, two ways of living totally different but belonging to the same period and the same Country.