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Code 256

THE FAMILY a film by Ettore Scola

My name is Carlo. I was born in this house and from its windows I witnessed war and revolution.  Within our home-walls, wars of another sort: disputes, reconciliation, alliances, defeats, sudden successes and grievous losses.  In 1906, the year I was born, it was a large family.  There was still my grandfather, the teacher.  There was my father and his love for painting.  There were my three aunts, who all remained spinsters.  It was a house full of laughter. I remember our mother’s laugh. I remember Adriana’s soft laughter.  Adriana, Adriana… I loved you so much ever since the day you came with Beatrice, your sister, to have her take Literature lessons. That was in 1926, the year our father died.  Then Giulio, my brother, became a fascist. I remember that hurtful scene with uncle Nicola, who later played that joke on Paolino… No, that was in 1936, and I was already married to Beatrice… yes, I married Adriana’s sister and Paolino and Maddalena had been born, two lively children, always pursued by Adelina’s scolding.  Adelina was our maid.  But everything changed after the war: Adriana went to Paris, Adelina, no longer our maid, married Giulio, coming back from the war.  And that hot summer, when I found myself alone in Rome with Adriana, while the rest of the family was at the beach.  It was in 1956, the year my daughter got married.  A few years later I was the first one to learn she was leaving her husband for another man.  If you line up all that happens in a family, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry!  Now, an old man, I laugh at things that had made me cry and viceversa. My grandson Carletto loves my wisdom but I do not feel that wise. I am happy and unhappy at the same time.  Now, on my eightieth birthday Carletto has invited all our relatives here at home, as we used to in the past. I didn’t want to… but now I think it’s a good idea. I can hear them arriving. I wonder who will come.

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