Il Boom

This snappy Italian satire (1963), somewhat reminiscent of Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, lampoons the rampant consumerism that accompanied the country’s economic boom in the late 50s and early 60s. A high-living businessman (the energetic Alberto Sordi), desperate to pay his debts, secures a private business meeting with the dowager wife (Elena Nicolai) of a rich manufacturer, fearing that she wants only his organ. He’s right, but it’s not the organ he suspected: at their meeting she offers him a handsome sum for his left eye, to be used in a cornea transplant for her husband. Vittorio De Sica directed, more than a decade removed from his heartfelt neorealist classics The Bicycle Thief and Umberto D. In Italian with subtitles.