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Passion of Love (1981)

Passione d'amore (original title)
In the 1860s, Giorgio (Giraudeau), a young Italian soldier, is sent to a remote post, far away from his lover, Clara (Antonelli). He is lodged in the house of the colonel (Girotti). He ... See full summary »


Ettore Scola


Iginio Ugo Tarchetti (novel), Ruggero Maccari (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Valeria D'Obici Valeria D'Obici ... Fosca
Bernard Giraudeau ... Capt. Giorgio Bacchetti
Jean-Louis Trintignant ... Doctor (as Jean Louis Trintignant)
Massimo Girotti ... Colonel
Bernard Blier ... Maj. Tarasso
Gerardo Amato Gerardo Amato ... Lt. Baggi
Sandro Ghiani Sandro Ghiani ... Giorgio's attendant
Alberto Incrocci Alberto Incrocci ... Capt. Rivolti
Rosaria Schemmari Rosaria Schemmari ... Fosca's maid
Francesco Piastra Francesco Piastra ... Colonel's attendant
Saverio Vallone Saverio Vallone ... Blond lieutenant
Laura Antonelli ... Clara


In the 1860s, Giorgio (Giraudeau), a young Italian soldier, is sent to a remote post, far away from his lover, Clara (Antonelli). He is lodged in the house of the colonel (Girotti). He becames friends with the colonel and the local doctor (Trintignant). Among the inhabitants of the house there is a strange young woman: Fosca (d'Obici) who is both unattractive and mad. However, she has a passion that Giorgio will have to cope with. Written by Dragomir R. Radev <radev@cs.columbia.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The restrictions of passion in an age when aristocratic life was played by the noble book.


Drama | Romance


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Italy | France



Release Date:

7 May 1981 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Passion of Love See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?


Inspired Stephen Sondheim to write the musical Passion. See more »

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User Reviews

An odd and dangerous experiment but in full realistic style, dreadfully romantic and beautiful in all its horror of a very different love story
18 May 2019 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

It begins like Visconti's "Senso", it's the same environment, the same circumstances of military life and romantic settings, and the splendid young dashing officer has a lovely mistress, someone else's wife with a child (the beautiful Laura Antonelli), the setting couldn't be more romantic, and then he is transferred and can only continue communing with his love by letters and in his dreams. The new place is somewhere distant way up in the Piemonte mountains, and there the presence of another woman offers something of an unsettling challenge.

The build-up to his first meeting with her is in itself a masterpiece, you can feel his expectations as he only hears about her existence, she plays the piano sometimes in the Chopin manner which increases the high expectations, - but at the same time there are misgivings from the beginning, as she is chronically nervously ill and has terrible hysterical fits, resulting in interminable screamings which must fill anyone with horror.

Of course she must fall in love with this too handsome young officer, and here is the challenge: he just can't love her. His detachment makes her passion worse, at the same time he is human and must show her respect and consideration, he is the perfect gentleman, which adds to worsening the situation, hopelessly heading for a crisis.

The cinematography, the music, the acting, the beauty of the film, everything is perfect, you can always rely on Scola, but the story is one of the most dísturbing challenges ever offered on film.

You have to take a stand. This cannot leave you callous, and although you detach yourself from the intrigue like Giorgio tries to, it's impossible. You must get involved, just like he does.

The beauty and the consummate realism of the film gradually takes the course of a nightmare, like a descent into hell, as the beauty and romantic touch keeps sustained and does not leave you in peace. You are stuck in an involuntary involvement in a reltionship that couldn't be more hopelessly revolting, and the callous doctor (Jean-Louis Trintignant) offers no relief or solution to the problem by his sombre diagnoses.

The major question is, is the story possible and convincing? The actors make it convincing enough, but it still should be seen as mainly an experiment. It could happen, for sure, but you don't want to become involved yourself, and the stand you are forced to take you will refuse. Fortunately it's safe for you as an audience to wash your hands.

And can you understand him and his ultimate unnecessary taking action for a responsibility that has been forced upon him? He acts nobly, you can't deny him that, you must admire him for his honesty, he does after all understand something about love and the necessity to be true to it, while his colonel makes a mistake and pays for it. If there is any role Bernard Giraudeau will be remembered for, this is the one. You will remember Valeria d'Obici as well, although you would wish to forget her. Massimo Girotti as the colonel is also absolutely consistent.

There is something like a touch of Victor Hugo over this absurd morality, with his hunchbacks and freaks and hopeless outsiders, and there is a very characteristic scene, when Giogio lies almost dying in a fever at the hands of his doctor, who leans over him through his feverish deliriums with a grim smile in the lamplight, almost like a deathskull - the grim irony of the film in a nutshell.

And it's actually one of the freaks who has the last laugh.

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