Director: Jean Renoir
Year Released: 1952
An Italian troupe goes to South America to perform but its lead actress, Anna Magnani, has attracted three suitors, and mamma mia is that-a no good. One key little difficulty is why all three of these men - one of whom is the Viceroy and another a prominent bullfighter - would fall for her, with her lack of charm and social graces: if anything, she is temperamental and crass (her 'laughter' is forced and grating, like a crow squawking into a megaphone). Because it would make the plot that much more exciting, the Viceroy impulsively gives her - a 'commoner' - his precious Golden Coach, which is a symbol of power and prestige, thereby kick-starting the arguments as to who should own the garish bauble: the gypsy actors and their lack of table manners or the government. It could be argued that this was the beginning of the end for Renoir, having made few notable films after Rules of the Game (he was probably so personally damaged by the poor reception over Rules that he stayed away from work of substance the rest of his career, choosing instead to make pretty populist pictures).