Jean-Louis Trintignant, who died today at the age of 91, will forever be in the Italian cinematic imagination the reserved and naive young man Roberto Mariani from the film ‘Il sorpasso’ (1962) by Dino Risi, the friend of Bruno Cortona (Vittorio Gassman) immortalized on his Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider.
In a deserted Rome on Ferragosto, the magnificent Spider by Bruno Cortona wanders, an idiot who lives by expedients. Looking for a phone, Bruno meets Roberto Mariani, a student who has stayed in town to prepare for an exam. Thanks to his histrionic skills, Bruno convinces Roberto to take a ride with him in the car: the two begin a journey that will take them to various places in search of a place to eat, up to the house in the countryside where Roberto’s relatives live.
Once in Castiglioncello, Bruno meets his ex-wife and his daughter Lilli, now engaged to an industrialist of a certain age, Bibì. Roberto, initially shy and wary of Bruno’s impetuousness and braggart ways, begins to become attached to that eccentric character, also starting to imitate his braggart ways, especially on the street, where Bruno enjoys racing and overtaking other cars , indifferent to any prohibition and any speed limit. During the return trip to Rome, after a risky overtaking the car swerves and ends up off the road; Bruno is saved, but Roberto loses his life in the accident.