Rosi's gritty and atmospheric second feature is a tale mired in the increasingly borderless, itinerant and opportunistic world of postwar Europe. Alberto Sordi stars as an Italian travelling salesman attempting to 'swindle' his German customers by fraudulently selling them inferior cloth. Meeting up with a naïve fellow Italian, he proceeds to teach him the ropes.
Mostly shot on the dockland locations of Hanover and Hamburg, Rosi's richly brilliant film is a fascinating portrait of class, nationality, the 'economic miracle' of postwar Germany and the less certain fate of its wartime ally.
Co-written by Suso Cecchi D'Amico. 35mm print restored by and courtesy of Cineteca del Comune di Bologna.