Aboard a ship early in the 20th-century, a middle-aged Italian tells his story of love to a Russian. In a series of flashbacks filmed almost entirely in creams, whites, and ochers, the clownish and superfluous Romano Patroni leaves his wife’s opulent home to visit a spa where he falls in love with a Russian woman whose marriage is a horror. He pursues her into the Russian heartland and returns to Italy resolved to leave his wife and marry his love. His amazed and appreciative Russian listener then narrates a shorter story.
Dark Eyes (Italian: Oci ciornie; Russian: Очи чёрные) is a 1987 Italian and Russian language film which tells the story of a 19th-century married Italian who falls in love with a married Russian woman. It stars Marcello Mastroianni and Yelena Safonova.
The film was adapted from (or rather inspired by) four Anton Chekhov’s stories, notably The Lady with the Pet Dog, by a Soviet-Italian team that included Alexander Adabashyan, Suso Cecchi d’Amico and Nikita Mikhalkov. The latter directed. The title refers to a famous Russian art song.
Mastroianni received the award for Best Actor at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Safonova was awarded the David di Donatello as Best Actress.
Dark Eyes – Oci Ciornie (1987)
Directed by: Nikita Mikhalkov
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Silvana Mangano, Marthe Keller, Yelena Safonova, Pina Cei, Vsevolod Larionov, Nino Bignamini, Maria Grazia Bon
Screenplay by: Nikita Mikhalkov, Aleksandr Adabashyan
Production Design by: Aleksandr Adabashyan, Mario Garbuglia
Cinematography by: Franco Di Giacomo
Film Editing by: Enzo Meniconi
Costume Design by: Carlo Diappi
Set Decoration by: Carlo Gervasi
Music by: Francis Lai
Distributed by: RUSCICO
Release Date: September 9, 1987