Agostino movie poster

Movies are considered classic when they have passed the test of time. Such is the case with the Italian film Agostino based on the book first published in 1944- seventy years ago. To mark the anniversary of the Moravia`s masterpiece, Simon and Schuster published a special edition of the novel curated by Simone Casini and we are offering you a review of the 1962 film.

Some of the best films I know were the ones made in the 60’s and 70’s. Agostino, directed by Mauro Bolognini, is no exception. The film is based on the novel of the same name, written in 1945 by Alberto Moravia.

Set in Venice, the film’s opening scene shows a  beautiful woman (Ingrid Thulin) and her young son (Paolo Colombo) on vacation.  Almost immediately, it becomes clear that the son and the mother are very close. Later in the film this closeness helps us understand why Agostino, who is used to receiving the undivided attention of his mother, feels betrayed when she decides to go out with one of the local gigolos. She is a rich and beautiful widow, which explains why the local men are quite fond of her, despite the fact that she spends almost all of her time with Agostino around.

The film contains a variety of nuances and subtle hints, compared with unmistakable symbolism.  From a blurred childhood vision, the film transforms itself into a quite clear image of the harsher realities of adulthood. The Coming-of-Age experience for Agostino allows the viewer to observe his progressive detachment from the fabulous atmosphere of childhood and his confrontation with the real world — observing his moments of anger and confusion in the process of growing up.

That is why Agostino immediately takes on a vaguely morbid tinge. It is not the story of just any boy. It is the story of a boy clearly predisposed to a certain kind of experience.

Scene from the movie " Augustine " - Directed by Mauro Bolognini - 1962 - Actor Paul Colombo with other children
Scene from the movie  Augustine.  Directed by Mauro Bolognini – 1962 – Actor Paolo Colombo with other children

I was astonished by the acting performance of Paolo Colombo, whose facial expressions and attitude contributed greatly to the illustration of his character. The rest of the actors also did a good job in portraying their respective characters. In addition to that, the film displays excellent cinematography which, despite being in black and white, is guaranteed to make quite an impression on its viewers.

Note: I saw Agostino in Italian and, while I was able to get most of the dialogue, it’s possible that I may have missed something which could possibly influence my review.

I would like to express my gratitude to CVMC for providing the DVD of the film Agostino. This review would not have been possible without their support.


Agostino (1962)

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Summary: Some of the best films I know were the ones made in the 60's and 70's. Agostino, directed by Mauro Bolognini, is no exception.



  1. Judging by your review this sounds like a splendid movie, but i guess i'll just have to wait until a release with english subtitles becomes availiable.

    Have you seen the movie Le souffle au coeur beacause it seems to be a bit similar to this one… am i right?

  2. Yes I have seen Le souffle au coeur – trough at first I was not sure as I am more familiar with its American title ” Murmur of the Heart”. Indeed there are similarities between both movies …still the coming of age phenomenon is examined better in Agostino for me . At the same time the director of Le souffle au coeur is Louis Malle which speaks enough of it.

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